WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8 / 4PM NEW VENUE Oak 101 Guest Lecture by Anita Mannur of Miami University at Oxford, OH
âThe Tiffin Box, Epistolarity and Intimate Failuresâ
In this presentation Professor ANITA MANNUR will examine the value of turning to visual culture to examine how gender roles are being reimagined within the context of gendered household economy. She focuses her analysis on Ritesh Batraâs film The Lunchbox, a surprising hit in late 2013 and contender for Indiaâs official nomination to the Oscar foreign film award.
Batraâs feature-length film is one of the few to structure its story around the âfailureâ of the dabbawalla system, and seems to suggest that the dabbawalla is not as infallible as it is imagined to be. When a lunchbox is delivered to the wrong address, Saajan the office worker who receives the unintended epistle (the meal) responds in kind with his own epistleâin his case a letter written in English. Over a series of weeks, the erroneous exchanges of epistles continue. The sender, Ila sends her âculinaryâ messages in the form of delicious meals packed into a tiffin, accompanied by a letter written in Marathi, and Saajan responds with his own epistle written in English, enclosed in the empty dabba. Through this serendipitous error, these two strangers build a relationship that develops entirely through the exchange of written and culinary epistles.
Prof. Mannurâs talk asks what productive intimacies might emerge in the spaces through which human error and fallibility fail to secure the kinds of intimacies that the dabbawalla system is designed to broker, and ultimately focuses on reinserting the place of the female in the domestic space in understanding how to think through the narrative of the dabbawalla.
Anita Mannur is Associate Professor of English and Asian/Asian American Studies at Miami University at Oxford, Ohio. Editor in Chief of the Journal of Asian American Studies, her books include Culinary Fictions: Food in South Asian Diasporic Culture, Eating Asian America: A Reader, and Theorizing Diaspora. She is also Director of Womenâs, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Free and Open to the Public, this event is sponsored by the Asian/Asian American Studies Institute.
Contact Information: Ms Fe Delos-Santos at email@example.com