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Don’t Break My Hopes: Resisting Vocalic VirtuosityThrough Hījṛā Music in India
La prochaine séance de l'atelier thématique
L’amour entre norme et transgression : art, histoire, fiction
aura lieu le
Jeudi 15 février 2018 de 10h30 à 12h30,
Salle 737, 54 boulevard Raspail 75006 Paris

Jeff ROY

Postdoctoral Fellow


Don’t Break My Hopes:
Resisting Vocalic VirtuosityThrough Hījṛā Music in India



The voice is understood as a multifaceted set of practices within which orality, aurality and subjectivity are conceptually and experientially interlinked. In contemporary India, as in many parts of the world, however, the cultivation of certain virtuosic vocal––and indeed other––performance techniques are shaped by culturally and historically specific moments, tied to the interests of nation and capital, and reinforced through the subjugation of certain “untrained” vocalic practices that work against these particular interests. The processes of validating or authorizing vocality are invariably linked to the marginalization of communities from which these voices originate. In this lecture, I reflect on several of my own sonic engagements with the ethnically, religiously, and linguistically diverse queer, transgender and hījṛā (third gender)––or, what I term trans-hījṛā––communities in India nevertheless produce different understandings of voice. I put forth the claim that in trans-hījṛā, and indeed other contexts, singing––or otherwise “sounding out” through uniquely stylized non-virtuosic vocalic practices––is practiced as a means of generating respect among community members and in order to resist, challenge, and/or transcend normative sonic spaces that authorize normative vocalic productions of identity. Following anthropologist Gayatri Reddy’s formative ethnography on the izzat of hījṛās in Hyderabad (2005), and joining Ani Dutta and Raina Roy’s call to decolonize hījṛā from the discourses and cultural practices that frame regional or otherwise vernacular gender non-conforming identities (2014), this work seeks to reconfigure common understandings of identities that for so long have contested or ignored conventions of aural approval.



Vous êtes toutes et tous bienvenus.


Marie Fourcade, Tiziana Leucci, Raphaël Rousseleau
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