ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Seeing like an Adivasi: Reimagining Culture and Visual Representation through Adivasi Media Collectives in Jharkhand, India


Gaind Arpit - University of California, Los Angeles, World of Arts and Cultures/Dance, Los Angeles, United States


38 – Adivasis and Adivasi Studies


 Over the past decade, there has been a conscious thrust to explore how media can play a significant role in allowing historically underrepresented groups to create their own narratives that are otherwise excluded from the mainstream. In light of this, community-based media reimagines modalities, accessibility, and representations for marginalized communities while utilizing traditional and new media forms. Further, in opposition to visual representation from the ‘outside,’ community media aims for the access media technology to the community. In this logic, the paper articulates Adivasi-based media as a site of ‘positive’ cultural production and its methodological impact on what gets represented and how one represents it. The paper aims to look at the range of discourse that shapes the distribution, reception, and production of an Adivasi-based media collective, “Akhra Ranchi,” in Jharkhand, India, and their intersection with local cultures and regional histories of media production. The collective works towards creating and promoting media production among Adivasi people, especially youth, to further Adivasi culture. By unpacking Akhra Ranchi’s work, the paper will argue for decolonizing the methodology of ‘knowing’ the Adivasi while examining Adivasi media practices and their linkages with the transnational processes of media and communication. The presentation also critiques the notion of media as a neutral site of production and Adivasis as exotic objects of analysis.