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Helen Priscilla Myers
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar (Bristol, CT 06010)
Postcolonial Music and the South Asian Diaspora: A Comparison of the Bhojpuri Songs of Mauritius and Bihar

This research, on the music of India and the Indian diaspora, highlights the importance of music in the lives of South Asian peasants and will illumine issues in studies of postcolonial societies and transnationalism. Through a study of Mauritius Bhojpuri music, we catch a glimpse of Bihar during the 19th century, the time of intensive recruitment of Bihari sugar-cane laborers for farflung outposts of the British Empire including Mauritius, Trinidad, and Fiji. A search for these songs in modern Bihar will reveal the precise districts of origin of these unfortunate workers and also illustrate the transformation that one hundred years of cultural change in India have brought to this remarkable song repertory.

Project fields:
Music History and Criticism

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2006 – 7/31/2007