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Jaspal Naveel Singh


person name Position: Postgraduate Researcher Email:
Area: Centre for Language and Communication Research

PhD Research

My PhD research explores India's hip hop scene. An ethnographic fieldtrip to Delhi has been conducted in 2013. I'm especially interested in discursive historicity and positionality/stancetaking, i.e. how actors in the field position themselves and others in spacetime. Furthermore, I have found that hip hop is used pedagogically and as a tool for social transformation, which empowers both the urban poor and India’s burgeoning middle class milieus. The English language is at the crossroads of these dimensions of hip hop and functions as an emblem of transculturation of hip hop. The project is situated somewhere between linguistic anthropology/sociolinguistics and discourse analysis and is designed to give an account of local usages of Indian Englishes and ideologies of modernity.

Supervisor: Dr Frances Rock, Dr Mercedes Durham

Academic Background

I studied Medieval and Modern History, Philosophy and English Linguistics at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany. For my MA dissertation I conducted a mini-fieldwork in Southall, West London. I looked linguistic variation and cultural identity in the South Asian diaspora there. This was followed by a 4-months ethnography in a multiethnic youth-club in Germany. After teaching one semester at Mainz University, I came to Cardiff and started another MA at the Centre for Language and Communication Research. In my dissertation I theoretically explored the epistemology of critical discourse analysis.


Wengoborski, Sonja and Jaspal Naveel Singh (2013) Creating the city of Delhi: Stories of strong women and weak walls. In: Hans-Christian Petersen (ed.) Spaces of the Poor: Perspectives of Cultural Sciences on Urban Slum Areas and Their Inhabitants, pp. 147-168. Bielefeld: Transcript.

Singh, Jaspal Naveel (forthcoming) ‘How many of us remember 1984?’: Narrating masculinity and militancy in the Khalistani rap bricolage. Sikh Formations.

Dattatreyan, Ethiraj Gabriel and Jaspal Naveel Singh (under review) Desirous recognition: Enacting pedagogy, disrupting value. Current Anthropology.

Conferences, Symposia and Seminars

2008   E-waste and media scholars
          Flow Conference
          University of Texas at Austin, USA

2010   Khalistani rappers of London: Creating the Third Place
          47. Studentische Tagung Sprachwissenschaft
          Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany

          Ich, Du und andere Fremde: Die Befremdung der Heimat (invited lecture with Yalız           Akbaba)
          Ein, zwei, drei… heimisch!?
          Aktives Museum Spiegelgasse, Wiesbaden, Germany

          Interview design and interactional dynamics
          48. Studentische Tagung Sprachwissenschaft
          University of Potsdam, Germany

2011   Forensic Linguistics: The language of law and justice (invited lecture)
          The National Law Institute University, Bhopal, India

          Dharavi: Ein Builtenvironment zwischen Interessen.
          Introduction to a screening of the documentary Dharavi: Slum for Sale
          CinéMayence, Mainz, Germany

2012   Stylizing the Third Place: Khalistan in contemporary music
          (Re-) Constructing Multiculturalism Matinée Sessions
          Cardiff University, UK
          Leben in Armut in Indien: Perspektiven, Herausforderungen, Konsequenzen,
          (conference organization with Sonja Wengoborski)
          Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany
          A History of English in India (invited lecture)
          Lecture Series: Understanding India
          Translation Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Germersheim, Germany
          Transculturation and the appropriation of styles: Hip hop culture in India
          Transitions Conference
          Cardiff University, UK
          Icons of repertoires: Approximation and material ‘feel’ in crossing situations
          Discursive Crossings: Subversion and Affirmation of Power Relations
          Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany

2013   Glocal flows: India’s hip hop online communities between universal
          authenticity and indigenous practices
          13th International Pragmatics Conference, Delhi, India
          Delhi to Bronx: Transkulturelle Historizität und soziale Emanzipation.  
          Tagungsnetzwerk ‚Diskurs – interdisziplinär‘, 3. Jahrestagung 
          Die Gegenwärtigkeit historischer Diskursformationen: Begriffsgeschichte – Historische            Pragmatik – Textuelle Historizität.
          Creative Unit: Language in Colonial Contexts, University of Bremen, Germany

2014  Indien mal anders: Urbane Dörfer, Malls und Hip Hop  (invited lecture)
         Globetrotter Outdoor Store, Frankfurt am Main, Germany



2011   Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Department of English and Linguistics:
          Four modules Spoken English – Phonetics and Phonology of English.

2013   Cardiff University, Centre for Language and Communication Research:         
          Two modules Introduction to Human Communication.