Center for Global Studies

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11th Annual Balgopal Lecture | "The Price of Acceptability: On the History of South Asian Immigration and Racialization in the U.S."

Event Type
Pallassana and Shyamala Balgopal, Department of Asian American Studies, Department of Media and Cinema Studies, Department of Latina/Latino Studies, Department of Gender and Women's Studies, Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Center for Global Studies
Room 66, Main Library
Sep 27, 2018   4:00 pm  
Vivek Bald
Free and open to the public
Kat Fuenty
Originating Calendar
Center for Global Studies: Events

In this lecture, Bald will draw upon past and ongoing historical research to trace out the ways that, for more than a century, South Asians have been simultaneously celebrated and vilified in U.S. popular culture and accepted only within narrowly and purposefully drawn limits as immigrants and citizens. He will examine a series of moments in South Asian American history - the "India Craze" at the turn of the 20th century; the shifting immigration laws of 1917 and 1965; the 1923 Supreme Court case of Bhagat Singh Thind; the 2016 presidential election - assessing how the "model minority" idea functions not simply as a myth, but as part of structures and processes of state discipline.

Vivek Bald is a scholar, filmmaker, and digital media producer whose work focuses on histories of migration and diaspora, particularly from the South Asian subcontinent. He is the author of Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America (Harvard University Press, 2013), and co-editor, with Miabi Chatterji, Sujani Reddy, and Manu Vimalassery of The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power (NYU Press, 2013). Bald's articles and essays have appeared in SoulsDissentSouth Asian Popular Culture, and the collections Black Routes to Islam, edited by Manning Marable and Hisham Aidi, Asian Americans in Dixie, edited by Jigna Desai and Khyati Joshi and With Stones in Our Hands: Writings on Muslims, Racism, and Empire, edited by Sohail Daulatzai and Junaid Rana. His documentary films include Taxi-vala/Auto-biography (1994) which explored the lives, struggles, and activism of New York City taxi drivers from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and Mutiny: Asians Storm British Music (2003) about South Asian youth, music, and anti-racist politics in 1970s-90s Britain. Bald is currently working on a second book, The Rise and Fall of "Prince" Ranji Smile: Fantasies of India at the Dawn of the American Century, as well as the transmedia "Bengali Harlem/Lost Histories Project" which includes the feature-length documentary film, "In Search of Bengali Harlem" and an accompanying web-based, crowd-sourced community history platform. He is Associate Professor in Comparative Media Studies and Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a member of MIT's Open Documentary Lab.

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Media and Cinema Studies, the Department of Gender and Women's Studies, the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, the Department of Latina/Latino Studies, and the Center for Global Studies. Funded in part with funds from the Student Cultural Programming Fee.

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