[Reader-list] [announcements] Tomorrow: Talk by Filippo Osella

PUKAR pukar at pukar.org.in
Mon Dec 12 09:55:46 IST 2005



presents a talk



Filippo Osella



'I am Gulf': The Production of Cosmopolitanism in Calicut, Kerala


Date:               Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Time                6.30 pm

Venue:             PUKAR Office

Address:          2nd Floor, Kamanwala Chambers, Opposite Strand Book Stall, Sir. P M Road, Fort, Mumbai 400001. Tel: 5574-8152




This paper explores the production of cosmopolitan identities in Calicut, Kerala.   The diverse experiences of the past - when commerce 
brought to Calicut traders from far and wide - and the present - when Calicut migrants travel to the Gulf to work and live alongside people from 
all over the world - are brought together in popular discourse to highlight the 'cosmopolitanism' of the city and its inhabitants.  But for Calicut 
Koyas - the Muslim community with whom the speaker conducted fieldwork from 2002 to 2004 - cosmopolitanism goes beyond a celebration of cultural 
sophistication.  It is a discourse through which a specific and exclusive local identity is objectified and valorised, at the same time assimilating 
and distinguishing Koyas from other Muslim and non-Muslim communities in Calicut and beyond.  The Koya residential area of Calicut - Thekkepuram, 
with its highly specific matrilineal joint households - and the Gulf - connected historically to Calicut through trade and migration - become 
inseparable, braided reference points of Koya identity and claims for superior status.  In turn, however, the experience of contemporary Gulf 
migration re-aligns historical notions and practices of urban cosmopolitanism through which Koyas define their own and their city's 




Filippo Osella studied at the London School of Economics (PhD in Anthropology 1993), and is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the 
University of Sussex.  He has carried out several periods of extended fieldwork in Kerala and the Persian Gulf since 1989, and has published on 
social mobility, migration, agrarian relations, masculinities and sexuality, popular religion and the body.  His most important publications 
to date are: Osella, F & Osella, C. 2000 Social Mobility in Kerala: Modernity and Identity in Conflict, (Pluto); Chopra R, C Osella & F Osella 
(eds.) 2003 Masculinities in South Asia, (Kali for Women); F Osella & K Gardner 2003 Migration, Modernity and Social Transformation in South Asia 
(SAGE).  He is currently working on contemporary consumption practices and ways in which they impact upon identities in the contexts of economic 
liberalisation, high migration and Islamic reformism, with fieldwork in Kerala and the Persian Gulf.

PUKAR (Partners for Urban Knowledge Action and Research)

Address:: 1-4, 2nd Floor, Kamanwala Chambers, Sir P. M. Road, Fort, Mumbai 400 001
Telephone:: +91 (22) 5574 8152 
Fax:: +91 (22) 5664 0561
Email:: pukar at pukar.org.in
Website:: www.pukar.org.in
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