Sudhir Patwardhan, ‘Street Play’, 1981, Oil on Canvas, 36×72 inches. Coll-Roopankar Museum, Bhopal, India.

Subversions | Vol 6. 2018

The present issue of SubVersions, being published after a long and unavoidable hiatus, brings together disparate themes and perspectives in ways only the allied areas of Media and Cultural Studies can. It is a mosaic of critical studies of institutions and practices, texts and contexts, and audiences and publics. With their many arms with which they do—or at least attempt—many things at once, Media and Cultural Studies are uniquely placed, with a whole generation of young scholars in the country unencumbered by disciplinary boundaries and expectations to carry out urgent and critical work on contemporary concerns.

The first two papers in this issue engage with enduring as well as evolving communities of performers in the context of rapid urban transformations of Delhi and Chennai, respectively. In the paper that follows, a close reading of a radical and emancipatory anti-caste text is used to raise crucial questions of historiography. The next two papers concern themselves with cinema. While in the first, textual analysis of films from prominent chroniclers of the Indian middle-class reveals the work that produces the domestic space of home, in the other paper, the author critiques the persisting interest of large Hollywood studios in peddling orientalist narratives and tropes in order to exploit markets in the Global South. The last paper in the issue is a case study on the use and efficacy of comics against the backdrop of democratisation of media in general and as a tool of social change in particular.