MN Srinivas Lecture 2015 - Christopher Pinney: 'Destroying the Negatives: M.N. Srinivas, "India's Villages", and Photography'
6:15 pm to 7:30 pm, 19 March 2015
Nash Lecture Theatre, King's College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS
M.N. Srinivas' The Remembered Village bristles with references to photography, from a formal group image of villagers marking M.K. Gandhi's death to villagers' general enthusiasm for the products of Srinivas' own camera. We learn, among other things, that Srinivas became known as the "chamara man", that he photographed the castration of bulls, that some of his photographs were almost involved in a court case, and that a Dalit worker resisted the ethnographer's camera because the police used photographs to trace runaway servants. This lecture examines his recounting of the role of the camera in Rampura, and the relationship of photography to memory, evidence and politics, before moving to a very different village in central India whose recent and current fixation with the camera, and what it makes visible and permanent, will be explored.
Christopher Pinney is Professor of Anthropology and Visual Culture at University College London. Recent books include Photography and Anthropology (2011) and (together with Suresh Punjabi) Artisan Camera: Studio Photography from Central India (2013).