A note on the tipline from desi academic extraordinaire Amitava Kumar reminds us of Disappeared in America, an ongoing multimedia project that began by documenting the round-up of immigrants in the post-9/11 hysteria and has now expanded into a web of collaborations among America- and Europe-based artists. Together they are tackling the rise of suspicion and xenophobia in all these countries, the climate of secrecy and fear, the intended and unintended consequences of actions by governments and their foes. (Manish mentioned the project last February here.)
… While our work started in the American context, we have expanded to look at Europe & the Middle East, in recognition that anti-migrant xenophobia, coupled with Islamophobia, is not a new or uniquely American phenomenon.
This is also an opportunity to point folks to tipster Amitava’s work. Now a professor at Vassar College, he’s one of those desi polymaths who covers politics, art, culture, discourse, sociology with even analytical poise and great literary verve. He’s also perhaps the most prominent and interesting discussant of matters Bihari on the web. Indeed, if there’s a thematic connection here, it’s that he is actively engaged in un-disappearing Bihar from the collective consciousness, a Sisyphean task that he handles with aplomb.
Recent posts on Amitava’s blog include one featuring photos from the arrival in Bihar of the avian flu; a mock letter from Lalu Yadav, Bihar’s “supremo” (as an Indian newspaper might say) to George Bush; and a joyful announcement of the upcoming U.S. edition of Upamanyu Chatterjee’s comic classic English, August, 18 years after its original publication.