Professor Chaise LaDousa has been visiting Varanasi and Delhi, two cities in North India, for the past two decades in order to explore the relationship between language and schooling in India’s rapidly changing economy. A major sociolinguistic phenomenon in North India is the advertising done in public, often for schools. Advertising can draw words from Hindi and English and can represent those words in Devanagari and Roman script. LaDousa has photographed hundreds of examples of advertising in the two cities, and published an article in the journal Language in Society about the ways that lexical and script combinations in such advertising renders Varanasi – via language and schooling – a peripheral place vis-à-vis Delhi. During the summer of 2018 LaDousa and Victoria Anibarro (student) returned to India to collect more data. The 2018 research trip has been a joint effort between LaDousa, Anibarro and the Digital Humanities Initiative at Hamilton College in order to digitize and visualize these findings. LaDousa’s research in Northern India concerning language, script, and signage has been primarily documented through photo observation. These images are intended to show advertising shifts over time in terms of language used (English and Hindi), style of script (Roman and Devanagari), content of advertisements, and geographical locations of advertisements. The 2018 trip goal was to further document changes and shifts in advertising content, target audience, and visual analysis of graphic media components in order to “archive the advertising landscape” of Delhi and Varanasi over time.

Project Link: https://spark.adobe.com/page/vOVZjFxTCKvsu/

Student Contributor:

Victoria Anibarro is in the class of 2019 at Hamilton College. She is an Anthropology major from Chicago. She joined the Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi) at Hamilton as a sophomore, and is hoping to use what she learns to further her career in Anthropology as she pursues graduate school.