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Supriya Chaudhuri | Modernism, Realism and Catastrophe: Local and Global Aesthetics in Mid-Twentieth Century India

0_supriya chaudhuri1 – Sugata Ray

5:00 pm | 10/17/2022 | 308A Doe

The South Asia Art Initiative at UC Berkeley invites you to a talk by Supriya Chaudhuri, Professor Emerita, Department of English, Jadavpur University, India

ABSTRACT In an interview, the South African artist William Kentridge commented that though the aesthetic currents of modernism had always been fed from the colonies, “the purity of modernism gets a fantastic taint and impurity when it’s made in the third world, where you can’t escape the pressures around, even if you try to.” The problematic journey of Indian modernism, and its realist inflection – or infection – through the middle decades of the past century has drawn sustained commentary. This presentation will examine the tension from the perspective of both literature and art, focusing on examples from Bengal in the 1940s and 1950s, to argue that we need to widen the scope of modernism in order to accommodate an aesthetics of crisis that deliberately bends and reconstitutes formal categories.

SPEAKER BIO Supriya Chaudhuri is Professor Emerita in the Department of English, Jadavpur University, India, and has been Head of Department, Co-ordinator, Centre of Advanced Study, and Director, School of Languages and Linguistics. She was educated at Presidency College, Calcutta, and the University of Oxford. She has held visiting appointments at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Paris-Sorbonne, and Virginia and lectured at many universities in India and abroad. Her areas of scholarly interest are Renaissance and early modern studies, critical theory, Indian cultural history, translation, urban studies, sport, film and modernism.

For more details about this event and the Series see the event listing <>

Sponsors: Institute for South Asia Studies, South Asia Art Initiative, Department of History of Art

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