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Mythopolitics and Melodrama in the Forging of Populist Power in Contemporary India

12. July 2023 / 18:15 19:45

ConTrust Speaker Series 2023

Ravi Vasudevan (CSDS in Delhi, Fellow ConTrust)

Moderation: Prof. Dr. Vinzenz Hediger (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, ConTrust) und Dr. Pavan Malreddy (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, ConTrust)

This presentation draws on the archive of cinema to explore the force of the mythopolitical and the melodramatic in the constitution of populist power. Tracking certain genealogies that predate the colonial experience, I deploy the category of mythopolitics to signify a story world that retails cosmologies and origin stories, understandings of authority, duty and subjectivity, and how these are moulded to facilitate populist formations that promise mobility within an authoritarian imprimatur. My second focus is on melodrama, a mode which emerges in Europe and America in the 18th century and which since the 1990s has travelled widely as critical category. It provides an armature of aesthetic excess gesturing, often incoherently, to fraught transitions that unsettle subjects, social orders, and the sacred in a bid to arrive at a felt truth. As Linda Williams has noted, melodrama as a field of affective engagement is subject to mutable identifications and attachments, with political adversaries laying claim to victimhood and the imperatives of justice and self-assertion, and is open to the drives of political domination.

Building „Normative Ordnungen, Max Horkheimer Str. 2, 60323 Frankfurt and online via Zoom. Please register in advance office@normativeorders.net

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12. July 2023
18:15 – 19:45


„ConTrust. Vertrauen im Konflikt. Politisches Zusammenleben unter Bedingungen der Ungewissheit“ – ein Clusterprojekt des Landes Hessen am Forschungsverbund „Normative Ordnungen“ der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

Goethe University Frankfurt, Campus Westend, Building ‘Normative Orders’, EG 01. Please register in advance: office@normativeorders.net

Max Horkheimer Str. 2
Frankfurt am Main, 60323 Deutschland
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