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Showing posts from September, 2009

Turban as Idol and Icon: Personal Reflections on the Gift of Form

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Professor Balbinder Singh Bhogal, Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies, Hofstra University

IDOL: What if it is the gaze that creates the idol and not the idol that creates the gaze? What if the gaze that creates the idol can only do so if it becomes fixed – at the expense of other forms? What if the turban is fixed not only by the ignorance and conniving of a global media machine that manufactures terror, as a sign of wayward violence, but also fixed by a gaze internal to the Sikh community as the symbol of absolute good or right?ICON: What if the turban becomes the finite site upon which the infinite shines? What if the turban as an icon demands the viewer never fix his or her gaze only on the turban as absolute good but proliferate this gesture to view all other forms likewise ad infinitum?What if the Idol and Icon are not two classes of being where one is right and the other is wrong, but two ways of being and perceiving – such that the point of whether something, in th…

Governing 1984: Dramatic Events and Theatrical Policing

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Speaker: Professor Balbinder Singh Bhogal, Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies, Hofstra University

How is the voice of the Nation State constituted? How is the voice of the Sikh constituted?
What kind of power does the Nation State’s voice command? What are the forces in the Sikh voice? How do these two powers or forces constitute subjectivity and mobilize collective action? And how are they related? I will explore the difference between these two registers of power under various contrasting pairs – the key pair will explore the Nation State’s power as a theatrical one, and the Sikh’s strength as a dramatic one. What is the difference between theatre and drama, power and strength? It will be argued that theatrical power is a coercion that manufactures a silence of obedience, whereas dramatic strength inspires a silence of expectation.

How would one move beyond the Nation State’s machinery that can silence the voice of minority protests and enforce the legitimization of pa…