Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

Guest Speaker: Harjant Gill on "Indian Masculinities through Ethnographic Film"

Thu, April 26, 2018 | Meyerson Conference Room (WCH 4.118), UT Austin Campus

3:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Film still from Roots of Love
Film still from Roots of Love

Anthropologist and ethnographic filmmaker Dr. Harjant Gill will screen selections from his work on masculinities in northern India. Dr. Gill recently completed a 3-part ethnographic film series on the topic that has been screened on Doordarshan (Indian National TV Channel) and BBC World News, as well as at academic conferences and film festivals worldwide. This series includes: 
Hindi & Punjabi (W/English Subtitles), 28 min
Mardistan (Macholand) is an exploration of Indian manhood articulated through the voices of four men from different generations and backgrounds. A middle-aged writer trying to make sense of the physical and sexual abuse he witnessed studying in an elite military academy, a Sikh father of twin daughters resisting the pressure to produce a son, a young 20-year-old college student looking for a girlfriend with whom he can lose his virginity, and a working-class gay activist coming out to his wife after twenty years of marriage. Together, their stories make up different dimensions of what it means to be a man in India today. Mardistan (Macholand) starts a conversation on critical issues including patriarchy, son preference, sexual violence and homophobia in a nation increasingly defined by social inequalities.
Punjabi (W/English Subtitles), 40 min
What happens to families in the absence of sons? What happens to land in the absence of farmers? What happens to villages in the absence of men? Sent Away Boys weaves together stories of individual ambitions and family biographies from Punjab (India) to chronicle the gradual transformation of agrarian landscape and patriarchal traditions through ongoing transnational migration. As the promise of a secure future in agriculture grows increasingly uncertain for young men across the region, escaping India to join the low-wage labor in countries like Canada and USA becomes their sole aspiration. In rural Punjab, being a successful man now entails leaving their village, traveling abroad, and sending money home. Through interviews with men preparing to undertake often risky journeys and women awaiting the return of their sons, brothers and husbands, Sent Away Boys shows how young men's decisions to emigrate implicate families and communities across North India. 
Harjant Gill is an assistant professor of anthropology at Towson University. He received his PhD from American University. His research examines the intersections of masculinity, modernity, transnational migration and popular culture in India. Gill is also an award-winning filmmaker and has made several ethnographic films that have screened at film festivals, academic conferences, and on television networks worldwide. Gill is a Point Foundation alum (2006-11). He co-directed the SVA Film & Media Festival (2012-2014), and is currently serving on the board of directors of Society for Visual Anthropology (SVA) and co-edits the Multimodal Anthropologies section of the journal American Anthropologist.

Moderator: Dr. Balbir Singh

Sponsored by: South Asia Institute

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