Calendar of Events

Spring 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015
Kavita Philip (History, Women’s Studies, UC-Irvine)
Jugaad example from Droog Lab
Pirate Copying, Jugaad Economics: Postcolonial Technologies and Developmental Leapfrogging
3:30 pm Curtin 175
Recorded video (Mediasite, with slides)
Recorded video (YouTube, without slides)

A range of business strategists, most famously C. K. Prahlad, have argued that India’s “bottom billion”—the people who live and work informally at the bottom of emerging economies, and with little assistance or recognition from the powers above—practice a form of flexible and inventive problem-solving that makes them the creative center of future capitalist expansion.

To readers familiar with the gloomy predictions of post-colonial theorists and South Asian historians, however, recent economic theories perform a paradox. How is it that a postcolonial economy regarded at mid-century as doomed by an exploding impoverished population, came to be seen a half century later as the beacon of hope for the future?

In this talk, Kavita Philip explores the links between the ways in which new forms of property have been redefined around the threat of the pirate, even as political economy has been revivified by the spirit of jugaad, an improvisational, contingent ethic of practice that putatively confounds the assumptions of universal progress and romantic localism.


Brown bag lunch seminar
Friday, March 6
12 noon Curtin 939
Reading: Kavita Philip, "Keep on Copyin’ in the Free World? Genealogies of the Postcolonial Pirate Figure," in Postcolonial Piracy: Media Distribution and Cultural Production in the Global South, ed. Lars Eckstein and Anja Schwarz (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014), 149-77.


Kavita Philip is associate professor of history at the University of California, Irvine. She is author of Civilizing Natures (2003), and co-author of Going Native: Cyberculture and Postcolonialism (with Harpold, 2010). She is also co-editor of the volumes Constructing Human Rights in the Age of Globalization (with Monshipouri, Englehart, and Nathan, 2003), Multiple Contentions (with Skotnes, 2003), Homeland Securities (with Reilly and Serlin, 2005), and Tactical Biopolitics (with da Costa, 2008).

Her research interests are in transnational histories of science and technology; feminist technocultures; gender, race, globalization and postcolonialism; environmental history; and new media theory. Current work in progress includes a monograph entitled “Proper Knowledge: Technology and Citizenship in Postcolonial India.”


Image: Ishan Khosla, Flickr, Creative Commons


UWM Year of the Humanities






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