Rohan Sengupta

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New York U.

Grant number

Gr. 10724

Approve Date

April 15, 2024

Project Title

Sengupta, Rohan (New York U.) "Disinformation in the Digital Age: The Exemplary Mediaworlds of Political Newsmakers in Contemporary West Bengal"

In April 2022, a number of audio-visual media clips had gone ‘viral’ across social media platforms, highlighting incidents of “riots and “lawlessness” in West Bengal, India. The clips in question despite originating in Brazil, Peru and Venezuela were weaponized effectively by the BJP in India, the Hindu nationalist political party in power at the federal level in India to index “a crisis of democracy” in contemporary West Bengal—a state governed by their political opposition, a powerful regional party, the AITMC. Such cultural battles, a frequent occurrence in West Bengal, are emblematic of a larger struggle wherein the fundamental stakes of news, information and democracy are up for grabs, across the world. My project centers the lives and labor of an emerging group of newsmakers in West Bengal who are at the heart of such battles. In doing so it asks, how do a group of newsmakers who are not professional journalists become central to local, national and global ecologies of news making. I deploy ethnographic, digital and archival methods to unpack the myriad ways in which these at once peripheral and crucial media makers are reshaping forms of knowledge production in postcolonial state.