I’m so happy to share that my article “Calcutta 1908: Apocalypse Now” has been published in the latest issue of the peer-reviewed scholarly journal Democratic Communiqué as the featured critical commentary.
Can theatre and film help spark an armed revolt? I believe they can, and that they did, specifically Indian theatre artists and India’s first silent filmmakers, in the capital of British India in 1908, in response to the Partition of Bengal and the systemic sentencing of children to public floggings.
My article is, in my view, a timely exposé of crimes and human rights abuses committed by the British Empire that have largely gone unreported in the West, but which are increasingly coming to light in the news and in pop culture of late. I’m not condoning or condemning revolutionary violence. We all have our positions on that, usually on a case-by-case basis, and that’s okay. I’m eager to shine a light on this history.
I’m really excited to share this slice of my research as a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in India. It is, I daresay, in-depth, yet it is only one part of a much larger story I’ve written.
Democratic Communiqué focuses on “cultural artifacts, media and imperialism, media’s relatedness to social movements, and the power of media to convey varying versions of the same event simultaneously.” It’s housed on the ScholarWorks server at Umass Amherst.
You can find it at the link below. I hope you’ll check it out.
On the lighter side, the other is a 10-minute talk for a storytelling session entitled “Strange Love or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Lizard Roommates” about my adventures living in a flat in Kolkata.
The abstract for the first talk:
In this unavoidably incendiary romp, Stanley uses news coverage and advertisements from Calcutta newspapers to give an account of daily life for Indians under a heavily militarized police state in the capital of British India. After pro-Independence plays and their songs were banned, and newspaper editors and activist public speakers imprisoned, Indians’ boycott of British goods grew in popularity until–the last straw–the legalization of public floggings of Indian minors. The situation reached its boiling point in 1908 with the bombings of white officials. The Raj responded with increased martial law and intentionally inflaming Hindu-Muslim disunity while keeping the people of England in the dark about what was being done in their name half a world away.
I’m grateful to have been offered an opportunity to write about the international Indian hit film RRR for Contingent Magazine, whose mission statement is “history is for everyone.” They purposely waited until 15th August (India time), India’s Independence Day, to publish the article as their lead story today. What does RRR have to do with my Kolkata theatre research as a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar? You’ll see. And be sure to read those footnotes.
The article begins below:
Sure, George Washington was a good war strategist, but could he pick up a motorcycle by one wheel and swing it around in battle? Or how about if Martin Luther King Jr. had busted Malcolm X out of prison by carrying him on his shoulders and dodging gunfire while hopping across rooftops, and together they took out J. Edgar Hoover? These events could not, and never did happen, but would be pretty cool to see in a big-budget historical fantasy action flick.