The Hague Colloquium on the Future of Legal Identity

Civil Registration Centre for Development, The Hague and the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, Johannesburg

Ravi Sundaram


Ravi Sundaram’s work rests at the intersection of the post-colonial city and contemporary media experiences. Sundaram published Pirate Modernity: Media Urbanism in Delhi. (2009), emerging from years of field and archival work. Cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America are now increasingly shaped by low cost media, which has blurred the boundaries between technology, culture and everyday life for large urban populations. Sundaram argues that this is the context of new ‘pirate modernity’, a grey zone between informality and legal media regimes, visibility and disappearance. A number of essays on non-legal media circulation emerged along with Pirate Modernity, as book chapters.   Sundaram was one of the initiators of Delhi’s Sarai programme, which he co-directs with his colleague Ravi Vasudevan. He has co-edited the critically acclaimed Sarai Reader series: The Public Domain (2001), The Cities of Everyday Life (2002), Shaping Technologies (2003), Crisis Media (2004), and Frontiers (2007). Sundaram’s current work-in-progress focuses on transparency, enumeration and the management of populations after media proliferation. These include GIS maps in cities, biometric ID projects and earlier histories of information infrastructures.

Texts:  Pirate Modernity: Delhi’s Media Urbanism, Routledge, London/New York, 2009; “Danger, Media and the Urban Experience in Delhi,” in Facing Fear: The History of an Emotion in Global Perspective, edited by Michael Laffan and Max Weiss, Princeton University Press, 2012; ”Global Governance after the Analog Age: the world after media piracy” in Craig Calhoun and Georgi Derluguian (eds) The Deepening Crisis: Governance Challenges after Neoliberalism (Possible Futures) New York University Press 2012