Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture | Seminar

CA-OS Research Seminar | Contesting aesthetics: images of development and urbanisation

Monday 4 June 2018
Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden


How do some forms become more discernable than others? In this talk, I introduce a new research
project into the visual landscapes of ‘vikas’ (development) in West-India. The context is an ambitious and contested project of rapid urbanisation and infrastructure development with unpredictable consequences for farmers and indigenous groups, which is paired with an intense proliferation of images that circulate among local and international audiences to create legitimacy, traction, as well as discussion around the project.

In the talk, I will share some challenges of method and approach that arise from efforts to develop a study into the ‘politics of aesthetics’ in this context. Why do people engage with images of development? Can visual and cinematographic methods pioneered in visual anthropology be employed and further advanced to explore the production of aesthetic norms within the contested field of development politics?

About the speaker

Sanderien Verstappen is a postdoctoral researcher in the Anthropology of Modern South Asia in the AMT-project ‘Postcolonial displacements’ at Leiden University (LIAS), and a fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS). Previously, she worked as a lecturer of visual anthropology at the University of Amsterdam.


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