Francis Cody

Associate Professor, Asian Institute/Centre for South Asian Studies and Department of Anthropology, UTM

Phone

416-946-8988

Fax

416-946-8915

Location

Room 269S, 1 Devonshire Place



Biography

Francis Cody is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Asian Institute at the University of Toronto. He has been teaching at U of T since 2008. His research focuses on language, politics, and media in southern India. He first brought these interests to bear on a study of citizenship, literacy, and social movement politics in Tamilnadu. Based on two years of fieldwork in the rural district of Pudukkottai, this work was published as a book called The Light of Knowledge: Literacy Activism and the Politics of Writing in South India (Cornell 2013), winner of the 2014 Edward Sapir Book Prize awarded by the Society for Linguistic Anthropology.  Dr. Cody’s more recent research traces the emergence of populist democracy and transformations of political publicity through Tamil and English news media. This work, funded by a five-year SSHRC-Insight Research Grant, explores questions of law, technology, and violence in claims to representing popular sovereignty.  Taken as a whole, his work contributes to the transdisciplinary project of elaborating critical social theories of mass mediation and politics in the postcolonial world.

Fields: Sociocultural and Linguistic Anthropology, Critical Social Theory, Activism, Media Studies, Postcolonial State Formation, Public Sphere, Politics, Tamilnadu, India

Selected Publications

Book

  1. The Light of Knowledge: Literacy Activism and the Politics of Writing in South India. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press (Indian edition by Orient Blackswan) Winner of Edward Sapir Book Prize, Society for Linguistic Anthropology

Articles and Chapters

  1. The Obligation to Act: Gender and Reciprocity in Political Mobilization. Hau: The Journal of Ethnographic Theory. special section: Language and Political Economy Revisited, edited by Andy Graan. 6(3): 179-199.
  1. Populist Publics: Print Capitalism and Crowd Violence Beyond Liberal Frameworks. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. special issue: Media/Utopia, edited by Arvind Rajagopal. 35(1): 50-65.  Reprinted in In Media and Utopia: History, Imagination, Technology, Critical Interventions in Theory and Praxis Series. Arvind Rajagopal and Anupama Rao. eds. New Delhi: Routledge.
  1. Publics and Politics. Annual Review of Anthropology, 40:37-52.
  1. Vaacippin Inavaraiviyal: Dinathanthi – Dinamalar Adippadaiyil Amaiyum Uraiyaadal. (translated by N. Manoharan) Maatruveli. 7:41-70.
  1. Echoes of the Teashop in a Tamil Newspaper. Language and Communication, special issue: Mediatized Processes in Contemporary Societies, edited by Asif Agha. 31(3):243-254.
  1. Arivoli’s Humanism: Literacy Activism and the Senses of Enlightenment. World without Walls: Being Human, Being Tamil, C. Kanaganayakam, R. Cheran, S. Duraiyappah, D. Singh, eds. Toronto: Toronto South Asia Research. (peer reviewed)

Linguistic Anthropology at the End of the Naughts: A Review of 2009. American Anthropologist 112(2): 200-207.

“Daily Wires and Daily Blossoms: Cultivating Regimes of Circulation in Tamil India’s Newspaper Revolution.” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 19(2): 286-309.

  1. Inscribing Subjects to Citizenship: Petitions, Literacy Activism, and the Performativity of Signature in rural Tamil India. Cultural Anthropology 24(3): 347-380.

Book Reviews

2012. Review of Tamil Oratory and the Dravidian Aesthetic: Democratic Practice in South India, by Bernard Bate, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, 22(1):126-127.

2008. Review of Little India: Diaspora, Time and Ethnolinguistic Belonging in Hindu Mauritius, by Patrick Eisenlohr, Language in Society, 37(5): 741-744.

Public Engagement

Is there a Future for Film Stars in Tamil Politics? thewire.in. 14 October 2017. https://thewire.in/187241/future-film-stars-tamil-politics/

How ‘Amma’ Became the Master of the Politics of Branding. thewire.in. 8 Dec. 2016. https://thewire.in/85450/jayalalithaa-amma-master-politics-of-branding/

Wrought of Iron Until She Was No More: Jayalalithaa’s Passing. Kafila.online 7 Dec. 2016. https://kafila.online/2016/12/07/wrought-of-iron-until-she-was-no-more-jayalalithaas-passing-francis-cody/

 



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