Theses Master's

Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat: Futurism and Pirate Modernity in South Asian Electronica

Schirmann, Kyle Lindstrom

Ravi Sundaram’s conception of recycled, or pirate, modernity was first deployed to explain the extralegal circuits of production and consumption of pirated and counterfeit goods, particularly in India. This thesis argues that the production, performance, distribution, and consumption of South Asian electronic music can be read under the specter of an aestheticization of the circuits of pirate modernity. Through sampling, glitching, and remixing artifacts, sometimes with pirated software or counterfeit hardware, South Asian electronica situates itself in youth culture as an underground form of sound. This is a music that concerns itself with futurity and futurism, doubly so by its links to the diaspora and to Afrofuturist readings, and with the physicality of the sound wave. The thesis also suggests a shift in the economic and political import of pirate modernity wrought by this aestheticization, examining how it has been appropriated for profit and mobilized for political use.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Thesis Advisors
Kaviraj, Sudipta
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
May 18, 2015