Varshini Narayanan

Varshini Narayanan
Cohort Year: 2019
Research Interests: diaspora; fusion; embodiment; Indian music; Indo-Caribbean
Education: BA, Princeton University, 2016


My research explores the construction of diasporic cultural identities, focusing on the performance of traditional and fusion musics to discuss definitions and expressions of authenticity and belonging. Processes of fusion and creolization present a space of expressive possibility for the hybridity and dialogism intrinsic to diaspora identity formation; specifically, I study the emergent Carnatic fusion scene that allows Indian-American diasporic subjects to alternately identify and disidentify with various elements of traditional Indian culture while expressing a local context of transculturation and intercultural exchange. I am interested in improvisation and the semiotics of intra-ensemble communication, as well as the transmission and pedagogy of oral traditions that do not fit neatly into Eurocentric modes of transcription and analysis.