On dancing with the shawl, faux pas, and being chiselled through research training

El mantón, the flamenco shawl, refuses to do my bidding. It refuses to levitate in the air in front of me, in order to then fall softly on my chest – like it levitates in front of my teacher and then falls on hers, right under her collar bones and covering her entire wide-open arms. […]

On power, self-doubt, and the collective nature of novel-writing

The day I held in my hands a book written by one of my supervisors (physical, i.e. IRL ink on IRL paper), the other sent me an email. The ones and zeroes assembled themselves to spell out, digital ink on digital paper: ‘difficult work’ and ‘tough ask’ (I had to etymologically trace the latter all […]

On vueltas, roots, and the (field)work of love

In Latcho Drom, a music film by Tony Gatlif, there is a footage which invariably enthrals me: a Rajasthani girl performing pirouettes. Her back is bent at ninety degrees to the rest of her body, almost parallel to the ground, and she uses her arm as the centre of the propelling motion with which she […]

On deconstruction, acute social theory overdose, and Guernica

In the first couple of weeks of my PhD, I made the mistake of reading The Structure of Sociological Theory by Jonathan H. Turner. It’s an old book and somewhat out-of-date (at least the edition I had), but I just happened to run into it in India and brought it home. Not that it wasn’t […]