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Lotte Hoek

Project title

New Media Censorship: Cultural Technique and Artistic Form in South Asia

Research question

In what ways can our knowledge about the 20th century history of media censorship help us understand media censorship in the digital present?

Project description

This project takes the 20th century history of media censorship to write a speculative ethnography of contemporary forms of digital censorship. It draws on anthropologies of silence and media ecology to ask what is new in media censorship today. To answer this question, I weave together ethnographic research materials about the everyday experiences of digital media censorship among artists and filmmakers in Bangladesh with archival records about artists and filmmakers in the service of the ‘public information unit’ of the newly independent East Pakistan state (1947-1956). Speculatively braiding these separate temporalities in a description of strategies and ‘cultural techniques’ around silence and expression provide the grounds to stage an account of the relationship between the visual arts and censorship in South Asia’s digital present.

Selected publications

Sanjukta Sunderason and Lotte Hoek (eds). 2022. Forms of the Left in Postcolonial South Asia: Aesthetics, Networks and Connected Histories. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Hoek, Lotte. 2022. Films in the Diplomatic Bag: Sovereignty, Censorship and the Foreign Mission Film in East Pakistan & Bangladesh. In Ravi Vasudevan (ed.), Media and the Constitution of the Political in South Asia. New Delhi: Sage. Pp. 23-50.

Hoek, Lotte. 2021. “This is Not a Film”: Industrial Expectations and Film Criticism as Censorship at the Bangladesh Film Censor Board. In Ramyar D. Rossoukh and Steven C. Caton (eds), Anthropology, Film Industries, Modularity. Durham: Duke University Press. Pp. 109-128.

Hoek, Lotte. 2019. Pictures on paper: Censoring cinematic culture through the Bangladesh Film Club Act. Terrain November. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/terrain/19361 ; DOI : 10.4000/terrain.19361

Hoek, Lotte. 2014. Cut-Pieces: Celluloid Obscenity and Popular Cinema in Bangladesh. New York: Columbia University Press.