Reflections on the Languages of Coaching

Speaker Bio:
Chaise Ladousa is Professor of Anthropology at Hamilton College in New York. He is the author of two books, Hindi is our ground, English is our Sky: Education, language, and social class in contemporary India (2014, Bergahn) which is an ethnography of Hindi and English medium schooling in Varanasi, and House Signs and Collegiate Fun: Sex, Race, and Faith in a College Town (2011, Indiana University Press), which is an ethnography on the lifestyle of undergraduates in the US. He has published in several well-regarded journals such as the American Ethnologist, Language and Society, and Journal of Pragmatics on issues of language and education in India and the US, and is the editor of the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. He is currently conducting research looking at the linguistic practices of coaching education in Delhi.

This presentation offers reflections on fieldwork among coaching centers meant to prepare aspirants for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examinations. Popularly claimed to be the most competitive examinations in India, if not the world, the UPSC underwent significant changes in 2011. This precipitated a major controversy just a few years later. Fieldwork revealed that certain ideas about language underpinned the controversy, but that such ideas do not fully account for the changes manifested by the coaching industry. Some developments and innovations in the coaching industry fly in the face of some of the stereotypes often raised about the language medium division.

Date: Wednesday, February 12
Place: AB 6/202
Time: 2:00 – 3:30 PM