Muhammad Nabil Zuberi

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New York, Graduate Center, City U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9569

Approve Date

October 11, 2017

Project Title

Zuberi, Muhammad N., City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Technologies of Imagination: Media and Political Protests in Bangladesh,' supervised by Dr. Vincent Crapanzano

In the context of the violence between two competing political movements that killed over 500 people in 2013 in Bangladesh, this year-long research project investigates the roles people’s ideas and beliefs about the media play in the circulation of the manipulated images and fake news, as well as in the imaginations they engender in times of crisis and violence. For both movements, locked in a battle over the legitimacy of the ongoing war crime trials and the role of Islam in the national life, the key goal was to make the public see and imagine the social reality in a way favorable to them. Through innovative use of a range of old (word-of-mouth in bazaars, loudspeakers in mosques) and new (Facebook, blogs) media technologies, both movements managed to generate intense emotions and divide the public imagination in half in 2013. Through ethnographic investigation in the capital city of Dhaka, and sub-district bazaars in Hathazari and Nandigram, this study will explore following questions: 1) What role did the old media and conventional ways of communication like words-of-mouth and mosque loudspeakers play in the circulation of the manipulated images and news? 2) How did people’s ideas and beliefs about these media affect the circulation of these images and news? 3) How did these ideas and beliefs affect people’s interpretation of the messages delivered through these media and imaginations of the transpiring events?