CARGC Colloquium: Padma Chirumamilla, Annenberg School

"Producing TV(s): The Multitudinous Life of Television in South India"
Padma CARGC Colloquium: TVs in South India
21 Nov 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
3901 Walnut Street, 6th Floor
Open to the Public

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About the Talk

This presentation examines how we might begin to apprehend the everyday presence of television in South Indian media life through a focus on the material object of the television set and its material entanglements. Through a consideration of the television set’s intertwining with devices ranging from VCRs to set-top boxes and optical-fiber cables, Chirumamilla exposes new veins of analysis through which we might understand both the inter-media history within which television in South India is embedded and the kinds of mediated futures that television’s material transformations portend.
Following an overview of her larger project, which utilizes both ethnographic research and close textual analysis of newspapers, enthusiast magazines, and policy documents, Chirumamilla will turn her focus to the objects of the television set, the videotape, and the VCR. How does looking at these objects in concert with each other change our imagining of the historical trajectory of television in South India? She will argue that the television set’s entanglement with videotapes and the VCR is illustrative of the contentious, close relationship between the commercial cinema industry and television’s growing presence within the lives of Indian media consumers; an entanglement that has so far gone understudied and might offer us new ways to think about how we theorize the pasts and futures of media technologies.

About the Speaker

Padma Chirumamilla is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication. Her work examines how media infrastructures shape and are shaped by everyday cultural life and labor in postcolonial South India and the broader Global South. Her dissertation investigates how the television — both the physical object and the broader media entity — were integrated into the daily rhythms of viewers and media workers in small-town and rural regions in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, through venues like the repair shop and technologies likes the videotape and VCR. Through a combination of ethnographic and textually-based methods, Chirumamilla’s research considers how the materiality of media shapes its absorption into the routines and rhythms of everyday life in the Global South. She is also interested in notions of technological futurity, and how the futuristic allure of digital technologies configures everyday encounters with media infrastructures in the Global South. Chirumamilla is a first-generation postsecondary scholar. She received her Ph.D. in Information Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in the summer of 2019. She obtained an M.A. in South and Southeast Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago. 

Lunch begins at 11:45. Space is limited, RSVP to

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