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Williams T. S. Mazzarella
University of Chicago (Chicago, IL 60637-5418)
The Censor's Fist: Affect Management in Indian Film Censorship

The extension of commercial mass media on a global scale has coincided in many parts of the world with an intensified censorship of sexually provocative images and political criticism in the name of averting cultural crisis. Yet the relation between proliferating media and intensified censorship is by no means obvious. In 'The Censor's Fist,' an ethnographic and historical exploration of Indian film censorship, I explore this relation by moving away from accounts that take censorship to be merely a tool of already existing social projects. Instead I argue that film censorship, understood as a project of 'affect management,' is a primary site of cultural production. I suggest that censorship is of interest less as an agency of prohibition than as an ongoing experiment with the official management of public sentiment. The project is an interdisciplinary reconsideration of the much-maligned figure of the censor as a window on the cultural politics of globalization.

Project fields:

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2010 – 8/31/2011