First Remote Anthropology VIVA!

Nasrin Khandoker, PhD Candidate
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 14:15

First Remote Anthropology VIVA!

Two weeks after the Covid-19 restrictions came into place, the Anthropology Department conducted its historic first remote doctoral Viva.


On March 25, 2020, Nasrin Khandoker successfully defended her dissertation, Songs on Deviance and Defiance, written under the supervision of Associate Professor Jamie Saris. In the thesis, she analyzed the very popular Bengali musical tradition of Bhawaiya, folk songs grounded in the daily reality of women’s lives. The passionate lyrics of the Bhawaiya, Khandoker says, “can be seen as the collective voice approving female desire and deviant emotions, as part of the subversion to the coercive and patriarchal marital and gender norms.”  

The examiners (Professors Nayanika Mookherjee of Durham University and Hana Cervinkova of MU) complimented the author on her comprehensive research, which provides an important contribution to our understanding of how the colonial administration and the anti- colonial and post-colonial nationalist order have relied on the conditions of gender asymmetry and oppression, in which the Bhawaiya functioned as space for the performing of gender beyond the oppressive official norms. They also highlighted the strength of the author’s personal biography interwoven through the text, the quality of the historical analysis informed by post-colonial, subaltern and feminist theories and the ethnographically sensitive account of the biographies of contemporary people engaged in Bhawayia.

Examples of Bhawaiya folk songs: