South Asia

Organized Panel Session

Advertising and the History of Twentieth-Century South Asia

Saturday, July 7
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Jacaranda I, First Floor

During the twentieth century, advertisement became one of the most important vehicles of change in South Asian culture, one that strongly reflected the subcontinent’s interactions with larger global developments. But while anthropologists have increasingly placed the advertisement at the center of recent analyses, historians of contemporary India have traditionally ignored the subject, seemingly regarding advertising as an interesting media form but one that was of minor relevance to major historical developments. In the last ten to twelve years, a new set of scholars, pioneered by historians of medicine and visual studies specialists, have taken a new look at advertising, producing a body of literature that highlights advertising’s importance to their fields. This panel will make a major contribution to this emerging literature but extends the reach of historical research on advertising to new topic areas. The panel includes five very different kinds of case studies. The panel shows the importance of advertising to business history, the history of medicine, to visual studies, the historical construction of gender, and to key political developments. The panel brings together scholars from different parts of India and the United States who have previously been unaware of each other’s work (both junior and senior scholars are included). Some of the papers on the panel will highlight developments between 1950 and 1990, a period overlooked even in the most recent historical work. The panel thus provides an especially valuable approach to assessing Asia in Motion during the twentieth century. 

Douglas E. Haynes

Dartmouth College, United States

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Douglas E. Haynes

Dartmouth College, United States

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Prithwiraj Biswas

Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira , India

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Shruti Tambe

Savitribai Phule Pune University, India

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Douglas E. Haynes

Dartmouth College, United States

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Shaheen S. Ahmed

Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

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Ravi S. Vasudevan

Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, India

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