26 June - GPS Seminar by Dr Tarini Bedi

(Auto) Biography/(Auto)Mobility: Motoring, Embodied Labor, and the Making of Kin in Contemporary Mumbai

Tarini Bedi, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago

There is a surprising absence of a serious study of the social and cultural life of motoring and of transport-workers in studies of urbanization and globalization in non-Western cities. Through an anthropological history of Bombay/Mumbai’s taxi trade from the early 20 th century to the present, Dr Bedi examines what particular modes of urban transport (the taxi-trade in particular) in postcolonial cities tell us about the social and cultural life of transport systems, the shifting structures of urban governance, the social and political life of transport and transport labor, and how these together shape the ways people, ideas and money are moved globally across urban spaces. Dr Bedi moves between historical archives, oral history, and the lived experiences of driving and repair to explore how the gendered labour of transport-workers in the global south structures circulations, religious and ethnic identities, and urban space .She also explore the changing conditions of work in South Asia in contexts of globalizing capital and the emergent articulations of “non-consent” that are produced as result.

Dr Tarini Bedi is an urban and political anthropologist who conducts research in South Asia and more recently in Southeast Asia. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of urban and political anthropology, anthropology of infrastructure, roads, and mobilities, cultural geography, and gender studies. Her first book, "The Dashing Ladies of Shiv Sena: Political Matronage in Urbanizing India" (2016, SUNY Press) develops a feminist theory of brokerage politics. It is particularly interested in the expressive, masculinized, and visual forms of politics utilized by low- level women politicians in Western India.