Daily Notes on Literature, Pop Culture & Media, and Academia

Posts Tagged ‘Hari Kunzru’

Eye on India festival, July 8th-17th

Posted by litdaily on June 22, 2011

Eye on India festival will take place from July 8th-17th in Chicago. The festival will showcase a number of events from literature to yoga/ayurveda…find out more>>

In terms of literature, Tarun Tejpal, Hari Kunzru, Shrabani Basu, and Nayantara Sahgal will be discussing their work at the Art Institute of Chicago.


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The Space of the Library

Posted by litdaily on March 1, 2011

Hari Kunzru’s post on the library as a relic adds a nice element to my last post on the Kindle…>>

He reminisces about the meaning a library had for him as a child and the excitement of getting that first library card.  Obviously, if E-Books take the place of libraries (and not just bookstores), then the experience of discovery changes.  Already, during the course of the past decade, my academic research takes place not in university libraries, but on my computer, in my master bedroom.  The digitalization of archives and out of print books makes it unnecessary to travel 25 miles to my university in order to make an argument.  There is something lost — besides the lack of sunlight — and that loss is not easy to explicate.

Roaming the halls of a library, whether public or academic, positions a person in the center of knowledge and the possibility of acquiring, devouring, digesting, endless amount of words that have meaning.  The E-book cannot replicate this experience. it’s efficiency, moreover, does not allow the leisure of roaming.  It bring us right to the text.

On another level, as a mother of two young children, the library and the bookstore are not just spaces of exploration, but they are also spaces that allow community building.  When I had my son (now 4), he started his first library classes at the age of 6 months. We made some lasting friendships there with other children and parents that would not have been possible otherwise.


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The Endless Scandal of Arundhati Roy

Posted by litdaily on December 22, 2010

Every few months, the global media reports on the controversial politics centering around Arundhati Roy. Since publishing God of Small Things, Roy has been a force to be reckoned with, not just in the literary field, but also in the parameters of the Indian national government and/or world politics.  In many ways, she is what Salman Rushdie couldn’t be – a celebrity that disturbs the boundaries of cultural production and capitalizes on her sudden literary fame for the masses.

Roy has often been attacked by the Indian government and media for advocating violence.  Recently, Hari Kunzru posted an article on his blog about Roy’s response to the way that the media colludes with parties actually responsible for violence.  In her letter to Kunzru, Roy discusses the relationship between mobs and media…>>

And a couple of days ago, Rupa Dehejia, a blogger on Wall Street Journal, hypothetically asks what it would mean for someone like Roy to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She reports on the numerous objections that people had regarding her comparison of Roy to Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo…>>

Dehejia obviously seems reluctant to be outright supportive or critical of Roy but does make a strong claim for interrogating the role of violence with regards to an oppressive state in the realm politics, and not just philosophy and political theory.  She asks: why is Xiaobo a worthy recipient and not Roy, since Roy is ranked as one of the “world’s most inspiring women” (apparently, she is just behind Angelina Jolie, which seems like a joke and needs its own blog entry)?

My own question about Roy is very similar to Dehejia’s question. What is so threatening about Roy?  Why is the violence that she advocates different than the violence that someone like Frantz Fanon advocated in order to overthrow oppression?  I agree that Roy is much hailed in the First World as a political activist. In academic terms, she might be considered a revolutionary figure – a “Third World Marxist Feminist” providing a voice to the subaltern.  Regardless of how we term or categorize her, it doesn’t matter because she isn’t located in the First World where the internet has taken the role of protest movements and donating some coins in the grocery store counts as making a difference.

Maybe what’s so threatening about her (aside from being a woman) is that she is not afraid.  There is no fear in her voice when she combats the violence of the state, the media, or international government. She has never backed down from questioning norms and in this way, her voice does have power.

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