Research project (1) : "The Social Life of Trust: Credit, Crisis and Contract in comparative historical perspective"
The project intends to undertake a longue durée understanding of commercial practice and its changing context and to initiate a much needed conversation between history and other disciplines such as economic anthropology and law around the issues of commercial practice, and
their social and institutional locus. At the heart of the project is to consider the language, logic and limits of reciprocity and trust, a feature that is usually evident in its deficit. While the specific case study driving the project would be South Asia where the experience of formal colonial rule attempted to construct an appropriate “Indian Economic Man” and a legal subject, the project hopes to generate interactions with other areas of the world, to look closely at new work that opens up the relation between religion and trade and cross-cultural exchanges, to consider how social behavior was rendered predictable and repetitive , of how customs and laws linked diverse networks in unexpected ways.
Research project (2) : "Song Sung True: Performing the Nation after independence"
In many ways the work aleady done along with Janaki Bakhle and Amanda Weidman helped chart as late as 2005 a new field of music history for India, adopting a multi-disciplinary approach to the same. The project on making music classical as part of a nationalist mission, the social implications of the project and the marginalization of genres and communities was part of a renewed engagement with ideas of power and exclusion, with law and reform on gender and sexuality. Having worked and developed the project in some depth, Lakshmi Subramanian is interested in developing it in the context of a changing public in independent India when and
where regions and states began to articulate their stakes to new forms of identity and classicism. Much of the new politics was implicated in a reappraisal of Language concerns, caste practices and of new possibilities that institutions like the Radio, television held out and did not necessarily simply reinforce the rhetoric that had captured the national fancy. The project thus hopes to invite serious conversations with practitioners, with scholars who explore the materiality of music making as well as of those who look at citizenships challenges in a decolonized context. There has been very important work in Europe, specifically France, on Indian music and on the new challenges its pedagogy has faced and Lakshmi Subramanian is therefore keen on bringing these scholars in conversation with work that is happening in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Southeast Asia to think through issues of Politics, performance and representation.