Gil Hochberg (MESAAS): Debashree Mukherjee (MESAAS); and Dolores Inés Casillas (Director, Chicano Studies Institute; Professor, Chicana and Chicano Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara)
Co-sponsored by the Society of Fellows and the Heyman Center for the Humanities
Isabel Huacuja Alonso is a historian of sound media and modern South Asia. Her book Radio for the Millions: Hindi-Urdu Broadcasting Across Borders (Columbia University Press, January 2023) is a transnational history of radio broadcasting in Hindi and Urdu from the late colonial period through the early post-independence era (1920-1980). It argues that the medium of radio enabled listeners and broadcasters to contest the cultural, linguistic, and political agendas of the British colonial administration and the subsequent independent Indian and Pakistani governments. The book draws on her dissertation (2015, University of Texas at Austin), which won the Sardar Patel Award for “the best dissertation in any aspect of modern India defended at a US institution.”
Expanding upon her work on sound media and borders in South Asia, Huacuja Alonso has pursued other related research interests that highlight the region’s pivotal role in global transformations. She is a co-editor of a forthcoming issue on WWII in India that analyzes the war’s influence in the subcontinent from an interdisciplinary perspective and argues for the centrality of war to the region and for South Asia’s crucial role in the global war. She researched Indian anticolonial leader M.N. Roy’s sojourn in revolutionary Mexico. This essay forms parts of a larger interest in revolutionaries whose political work transgressed their societies’ intellectual and physical borders.