Musicophilia in Mumbai : Performing Subjects and the Metropolitan Unconscious

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Abstract

MUSICOPHILIA IN MUMBAI examines the popularity of Hindustani-North Indian-music in Mumbai from the late 19th century to the present by seeking to understand the historical context through which the music entered into and structured urban spaces. Tejaswini Niranjana argues that the formation of an aural community around Hindustani music engendered the formation of a new musical subject: the musicophiliac. In doing so, Niranjana offers an indirect critique of formations of modernity, arguing against a totalizing modernity as posited by European thinkers, and instead offering a view of modernities that are different, spatially divergent, and co-existent. For Niranjana, the musicophiliac is the subject of Mumbai's modernity. Weaving together theories of the unconscious and Bourdieu's notion of the habitus, Niranjana names the "metropolitan unconscious"-the collective unconscious built from, and continually transformed by, the experiences of those who settled in Mumbai under colonial modernity-as that which allowed for creation of the musicophiliac subject. In the colonial modernity of Mumbai, Niranjana argues, subjects "re-vision" the past by drawing from the collective archive of Hindustani music-a subject formation which bypasses differences of caste, class, religion, gender, and language.
Chapter 1 examines how the importance of music in late-nineteenth-century Bombay helped create an urbanity in which music organized both urban spaces and subject formation.
Chapter 2 explores the relationship between music and built space in Mumbai, paying specific attention to the presence of Hindustani music in Girgaum, the "native town" of Bombay.
Chapter 3 attends to the affective intensity of listening to Hindustani music.
Chapter 4 focuses on musical pedagogy and its role in the formation of musical subjects. In the afterword, Niranaja discusses her film and curation project Making Music-Making Space, a three-year collaboration between filmmakers, designers, and architects in Mumbai. Throughout the chapters, Niranjana draws heavily from interviews she conducted between 2012 and 2017 with collaborators and Hindustani listeners in Mumbai. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of South Asian studies, postcolonial and colonial studies, ethnomusicology, and social theory.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDuke University Press and Tulika Books
Number of pages272
ISBN (Print)9781478008187, 9781478006862
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

The manuscript was completed with support from the Research Grants Council of the University Grants Committee of Hong Kong, under the Hong Kong Humanities and Social Sciences Prestigious Fellowship Scheme [Project Code: lu 33000017 (131606)].

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