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Visiting Scholar

Philippe Messier (Postdoctoral Fellow) is a sociocultural and visual anthropologist who researches the relationship between economic and technological transformations in South Asia. He joins the Graduate Center from McGill University, where he completed his PhD in 2018, as a Postdoctoral Fellow sponsored by the Québec FRQSC (Fonds Société et Culture). Philippe’s research questions superficial contrasts made between high- and low-skill workers and their contributions to South India’s growing technology economies, building on seventeen months of ethnographic research between 2012 and 2016 with both computer engineers and Vaddera caste stonecutters in the newly formed state of Telangana. He shows instead that stone blocks and lines of codes partake of the same political economy of technology, merging the demands of Indian capitalism with the emergent national rhetoric of regional states such as Telangana. While at the Graduate Center, Philippe will analyze how media production shape parallel visions of professional success for stonecutters and computer engineers alike, and how the construction of urban infrastructure reveals the relationship between these visions and the policies of the new Telangana State. Collaborative and experimental videos will offer a way to reflect dialogically on how workers combine ideas about economic status and technical proficiency in articulating visions of success.