Ph.D., Columbia University.
M.A., University of Washington.
Areas of Focus:
Socio-cultural anthropology; South Asia; music and sound; media and performance; linguistic anthropology and semiotics
Amanda Weidman is a cultural anthropologist with interests in music, sound, media, performance, linguistic anthropology, semiotics, and technological mediation. Within an area specialization in South Asia, her research focuses on Tamil-speaking South India. Her first book, Singing the Classical, Voicing the Modern: The Postcolonial Politics of Music in South India, examined the creation of South Indian classical music as a high cultural genre in the context of late colonialism, Indian nationalism, and regional politics in South India. This project combined ethnographic research, examination of archival sources, and her own study and performance of South Indian classical music.
Her second book, Brought to Life by the Voice: Playback Singing and Cultural Politics in South India, focuses on playback singing in Indian cinema, a system where singers' voices are first recorded in the studio and then "played back" on the set to be matched with actors' bodies and visual images. This book examines the forms of vocal sound and performance practice, celebrity and publicity, and affective attachment to voices that have been generated by this division of labor between singing and acting, within the cultural and political context of South India from the late 1940s to the present.
Professor Weidman's courses include: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology; Language in the Social Context; Field Research in Linguistic Anthropology; Anthropology of Media; Beyond Bollywood: Popular Culture and Performance in South Asia; History of Anthropological Theory; The Anthropology and Cultural Politics of Sound; The Politics of Belonging and Exclusion in the 'New' India.