5 Mar 2013 5:00pm - 7:00pm CRASSH, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT - S2



Dr Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes (University of Cambridge)

Susanne Hammacher (Royal Anthropological Institute)


As a preamble to the first international conference on Exploring modern South Asian history with visual research methods, Cambridge, UK, 15-16 March 2013, the Centre of South Asian Studies is organising a seminar series that will introduce the theme of the conference. Several historians and anthropologists will discuss a selection of ethnographic / anthropological films of South Asia in relation to current historiographical methodologies. The series is organised in collaboration with the Royal Anthropological Institute and CRASSH.

History, memory and stigma: Filming India's 'criminal'/denotified tribes in western India


Dakxinkumar Bajrange (Budhan Theatre, Ahmedabad)
William Gould (University of Leeds)


In 1952, following a series of formal commissions of enquiry in different states, India's so-called 'Criminal Tribes' were 'denotified' and in many were released from open prisons, or settlements and 'free colonies'.  However, while the new postcolonial regime devised a series of constitutional and civic rights in the period of transition, their application to such groups was uneven and sometimes absent.  This film project explores the relationship between formal ethnographies/histories and oral community histories of two communities over this period: Chharas in Gujarat and Pardhis in Maharashtra.  It explores the contradictions between formal policies of settlement and 'rehabilitation' and the subversion of these practices by communities themselves.  It also uncovers the tension between bureaucratic and community representations of criminality.  The film records the experience of these communities of independence and 'freedom', and explores the contingent meanings of these ideas to groups for whom police surveillance and control continued to be an everyday experience.




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