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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 (2013) ‘How many of us remember 1984?’: Narrating masculinity and militancy in the Khalistani rap bricolage. Sikh Formations. Religion, Culture, Theory 9(3): 339-360.

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

Singh, Jaspal Naveel (under review) Delhi to Bronx: Transkulturelle Historizität als transformatives Potential. In: Heidrun Kämper, Daniel Schmidt-Brücken and Ingo H. Warnke (eds.) Textuelle Historizität: Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven auf das diskursive Apriori. Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter (Diskursmuster – Discourse Patterns, 8).

Conferences, Symposia and Seminars


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


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 (with Yalız Akbaba, invited lecture) Ein, zwei, drei… heimisch!?
Aktives Museum Spiegelgasse, Wiesbaden, Germany

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


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


Stylizing the Third Place: Khalistan in contemporary music
(Re-) Constructing Multiculturalism Matinée Sessions
Cardiff University, Wales, UK

Leben in Armut in Indien: Perspektiven, Herausforderungen, Konsequenzen
(conference organisation 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, Wales, UK

Icons of repertoires: Approximation and material ‘feel’ in crossing situations
Discursive Crossings: Subversion and Affirmation of Power Relations
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany


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

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

Split Subjectivity: Participation Frameworks and Indexicality Theory                               Discourse Studies in the Social Sciences: Towards a Dialogue between Theory and Analysis. Warwick University, England, UK

The transculturation of hip hop pedagogy in India
5th International Conference Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines (CADAAD). Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest, Hungary

Downscaling Culture: Revisiting Intercultural Communication (conference organisation with Dorottya Cserző and Argyro Kantara)
ESRC-funded International Conference in collaboration with the Department of Linguistics at the University of Delhi
Cardiff University, Wales, UK


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.