Professor LAURA KUNREUTHER
Friday February 11
800 East 3rd Street, Classroom Office Building -- Room 100
‘My Story, My Song’: Public Intimacy, Voice, and Writing on FM radio in Nepal
The commercial FM radio was established in 1996 in Nepal, six years after the re-establishment of democracy, and the media quickly became a symbol of democratic ‘free speech’. The expression of intimate and personal matters on FM radio broadcasts immediately marked the commercial radio’s distinction from state-run Radio Nepal. This paper explores expressions of intimacy portrayed on FM radio programs, and the connection of public intimacy to ideologies of the voice. With a focus on one program called ‘My Story, My Song’, I ask how FM broadcasts of personal and intimate matters relates to political aspirations of democratic participation and transparency. The answer, I believe, can be found in exploring the figure of voice that flourished with democracy and with the establishment of FM radio: that is, the voice as a metaphor of consciousness, agency, and collective desire and the voice as a medium of sound that conveys emotion, immediacy, and presence.
Laura Kunreuther is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Bard College. She has been doing research in Nepal since the early 1990s, and focuses on the relation between ideologies of the voice, mediation, and subjectivity, particularly since the democracy movement of 1990.
She is currently finishing her book, Voicing Subjects: Public Intimacy and Mediation in Kathmandu, and has published articles in several journals, including American Ethnologist, Cultural Anthropology, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology.
*This lecture series aims to bring to IU junior scholars whose work lies at the intersection of CMCL's three areas, and whose work is strongly informed by an ethnographic perspective.*