Prior to launching our plans for The Modern Review Journal in early 2021, two panel discussions as part of SA Virtual will discuss the history of journals and archives in India with specific reference to arts and culture. Culture as Print (I): The Modern Review and Beyond and Culture as Print (II): The Ever-changing Archive will address emergence and continuing journeys of a rich print culture in the subcontinent and beyond.


Join us for a discussion on the dimensions and facets of archives as holdings and ephemera, as documents and utterances, that present an expanding field of meanings and methods for navigation, archaeology and deliberation. Drawing from autonomous initiatives in English and vernaculars in the early twentieth century, such as The Modern Review, the panel will explore the print as a forum for collectivity and multiplicity, the foundations of a discursive public.


Ranjit Hoskote has been acclaimed as a seminal contributor to Indian art criticism and curatorial practice, and is also a leading Indian poet. He is the author of more than 30 books, including Vanishing Acts: New & Selected Poems 1985-2005 (Penguin, 2006), Central Time (Penguin/ Viking, 2014), Jonahwhale (Penguin/ Hamish Hamilton, 2018), and The Atlas of Lost Beliefs (Arc, 2020). Hoskote was the curator of India’s first-ever national pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2011). He co-curated the 7th Gwangju Biennale with Okwui Enwezor and Hyunjin Kim (2008). Among his curatorial projects are three transhistorical and trans-genre exhibitions developed for the Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa: Terra Cognita? (2016), Anti-Memoirs (2017), and The Sacred Everyday (2018). With Rahul Mehrotra and Kaiwan Mehta, Hoskote co-curated the exhibition-conference platforms The State of Architecture: Practices and Processes in India (National Gallery of Modern Art, Bombay, 2016) and State of Housing: Aspirations, Imaginaries and Realities (Max Mueller Bhavan, Bombay, 2018).

Francesca Orsini is Professor of Hindi and South Asian Literature at SOAS, University of London, a Fellow of the British Academy, and the author of The Hindi Public Sphere (2002) and Print and Pleasure (2009). She has just finished a book on the multilingual literary history of Awadh, north India, from the 15c to the early-20c, and is leading an ERC research project on “Multilingual locals and significant geographies: for a new approach to world literature” from the perspective of three regions: North India, the Maghreb, and the Horn of Africa.

John Tain is Head of Research at Asia Art Archive, where he leads a team based in Hong Kong, New Delhi, and Shanghai. In addition to Out of Turn at the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa and Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Someday, Chicago (both co-curated in 2018), he also organized Crafting Communities (2020), which looks at the confluence of feminism, crafts, and social practice in the biennial Womanifesto events in Thailand from 1997 to 2008. In 2019-20, he was a convener for MAHASSA (Modern Art Histories in and across Africa, and South and Southeast Asia, 2019-2020), a collaboration with the Dhaka Art Summit and the Institute for Comparative Modernities at Cornell University. He is a series editor for the Afterall Exhibition Histories series, and his writings have appeared in publications including Artforum, Flash Art, Art Review Asia. He is a member of the working committee of the Asia Forum scheduled to take place in Venice during the Biennale in 2022.

Sarover Zaidi is a social anthropologist, working at the intersections of critical theory, anthropology, art, architecture and material culture studies. She has worked extensively on religious architecture, carceral urbanism and currently co-runs a site on writing the city called Chiragh Dilli ( Previously, she worked across India looking at issues related to women’s health and education, and has undertaken extensive research on religious iconography in the contexts of Islam and modernist architecture in south Asia. She also curates an interdisciplinary forum on art, architecture and anthropology, titled Elementary Forms and The Saiyidain Manzil Sessions on south Asia literature, cinema and culture. She currently teaches at the Jindal School of Art and Architecture, JGU, Sonipat.