John Caldwell (Lecturer in Gamelan; Teaching Associate Professor – South Asia Section, Department of Asian Studies) recently completed his Ph.D. in Musicology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His dissertation, “Songs from the Other Side: Listening to Pakistani Voices in India” was completed under the direction of Dr. Michael Figueroa. John’s research interests include the music, film and media cultures of South and Southeast Asia, comparative music analysis, second language learning, and poetry and poetics. He directs the UNC Nyai Saraswati Gamelan Ensemble and plays principal bassoon in the Raleigh and Durham Symphonies. John is fluent in Hindi-Urdu and teaches both languages at the University of North Carolina as well as courses on South and Southeast Asian music. John has co-directed the annual UNC Summer in India Study Abroad Program since 1999. In his spare time, he composes music and translates the ghazals of Ghalib into English.
“The Musical Language of Indian Film Song in the 1940s,” chapter in The Routledge Companion to Global Film Music in the Early Sound Era, ed. Jeremy Barnham, New York: Routledge, 2021.
“Songs from the Other Side: Listening to Pakistani Voices in India,” Doctoral Dissertation, ProQuest, 2021.
“Since a sigh requires a lifetime,” Translation of a ghazal by Ghalib (Urdu into English), Monsoon Magazine, Chapel Hill, 2021.
“Lord Rama Plays the Parking Lot: Ramlila in the Diaspora” Asian Theatre Journal, University of Hawai’i Press, Volume 37,
Number 1, Spring 2020, pp. 200-227. (Refereed)
Translations: short stories in Premchand: the complete short stories, edited by M. Asaduddin. Gurgaon, Haryana, India: Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, 2017.
“The Musical Language of Indian Film Song in the 1940s” Master’s Thesis, ProQuest, November 2015.
“Postcards from Wagah,” Monsoon Magazine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, November 1, 2014.
Book review of Tejaswani Ganti, Producing Bollywood, in The Southeast Review of Asian Studies, vol. 35, 2013.
“The Movie Mujrā: the Trope of the Courtesan in Urdu-Hindi Film” in The Southeast Review of Asian Studies, volume 32 (2010), pp. 120-8.
“In my fate it was not written (Yeh na thi hamari qismat),” poetic translation from Ghalib; video recording. 2013. Rekhta: Urdu Literature website: http://rekhta.org/UrduPoetryVideos?nav=StudioVideo
“The world is but a little children’s play (Bazicha-e atfal),” poetic translation from Ghalib; video recording. 2013. Rekhta: Urdu Literature website: http://rekhta.org/UrduPoetryVideos?nav=StudioVideo
Darvazah: A Door Into Urdu (as project manager) – Web-delivered Elementary Urdu Course: http://taj.oasis.unc.edu/urdu
A Door Into Hindi (as project manager) – Web-delivered Elementary Hindi Course: http://taj.oasis.unc.edu
Invited Lectures, Colloquia, and Conference Presentations
“Performing Partition: The India-Pakistan Border Ballet at Wagah,” Southeast Regional Conference of the Association for Asian studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, January 16, 2021.
“Disco Dervishes: the mystical roots of Indian popular and classical music,” Carolina Public Humanities and Guilford Technical Community College, November 20, 2020.
“We Shall See: the gendered life of a protest song in India,” Society for Ethno-Musicology Conference, October 25, 2020.
“ ‘And We Shall See’: the gendered life of a protest song in modern India and Pakistan,” 9th Joint Graduate Student Music Conference, University of North Carolina and King’s College London, July 22, 2020.
“Vinyl Recordings of Qawwali,” International Webinar on Sufism, Kalyan University, Maharashtra, India, May 16, 2020.
“Performing Partition: The India-Pakistan Border Ballet at Wagah” Society for Ethno-Musicology Conference, Bloomington, Indiana, November, 2019.
“Bhakti and Sufism,” Seminar on Bhakti Dance, Durham, NC, Feb 29, 2020.
“The Sarod Trilogy Pre-Concert Lecture,” Carolina Performing Arts, Chapel Hill, NC, November 13, 2019. Discussant, Sahitya Ada Samvaad, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India, July 7, 2019.
“Realm of the Heart: the Jahan-e Khusrau Sufi Music Festival” NC South Asia Consortium Colloquium, March 25, 2019.
“Lord Rama Plays the Parking Lot: Indian Religious Drama in the Diaspora” Comparative Drama Conference, Orlando Florida, April 5-8, 2018.
“Danger, Devotion, and Desire in Indian Perceptions of Pakistani Vocality” CUNY Graduate Music Conference, March 23-24, 2018.
“Performing Hostility: the Wagah Border Soundscape” at the Annual Conference of the South Central Graduate Music Consortium, Sept 29, 2017.
“Ramchandraji in America: the North Carolina Ram Lila” Conference: Lok Sanskriti mein Rama, Ayodhya, India, April 30, 2017 (presented in Hindi-Urdu).
“Ganga-Jamni Tehzeeb and the River of Urdu” Conference on Hindi aur Urdu ki Saanjhi Virasat, at Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, India, March 31, 2017 (presented in Hindi-Urdu).
“Urdu Journalism and Post-Truth” Conference on Urdu Journalism, Gautam Buddh University, Greater Noida, India, March 25, 2017 (presented in Hindi-Urdu).
“New Urdu Communities” panel discussion, Jashn-e Adab, Delhi, India, March 19, 2017 (presented in Hindi-Urdu).
“Schoenberg Tagore Cage and the Limits of Musical Systems” invited lecture at Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, India, March 16, 2017.
“Premchand’s Non-fiction” panel chair, Translation Workshop, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, India, March 10, 2017.
“Manto through American Eyes,” invited talk at Zakir Hussain Delhi College, Delhi, India, March 2, 2017 (presented in HindiUrdu).
“Visaal-e Yaar: the Union of Music and Poetry in Ghazal” in Shabd aur Sangeet Conference, Pune, India, January 21-22, 2017.
Colloquium: “The Musical Language of 1940s Indian Film Songs,” presented at the North Carolina South Asia Colloquium, Raleigh, NC, November 14, 2016.
Publicly Engaged Scholarship
On-going: Geet Bazaar Radio Program WKNC 88.1 FM, co-host and producer, 1999-present.
On-going: Urdu Majlis Literary Society, co-founder and program manager, 1997-present.
Annual Religions of South Asia Field Trip, co-director, 1996-present.
Annual Ram Leela performance, play role of Hanuman and manage sound editing, Hindu Society of North Carolina, 2011-present.
Remarkable Journeys: Indians in North Carolina documentary film: consultant, released January 2017.
ASIA 164/MUSC 164: Music of South Asia (a course I developed) (cross-listed with the Music Department)
ASIA 228: Contested Souls: Lit., the Arts, and Religious Identity in Modern India (a course I developed in collaboration with Dr.
ASIA 240/MUSC 240: Performance in Southeast Asia: Gongs, Punks, and Shadow Plays (a “lost” course I recreated)
ASIA 243: Journalism and Society in South Asia (a course I developed in collaboration with Dr. Afroz Taj)
ASIA 243: The Indian Diaspora in Literature and Film (a course I developed in collaboration with Dr. Afroz Taj)
ASIA 490: Survival Hindi (a course I developed)
HNUR 101-102: Elementary Hindi-Urdu I and II
HNUR 204: Intermediate Hindi-Urdu II
HNUR 305: Advanced Hindi-Urdu I
HNUR 220: The Hindi Script (a course I developed)
HNUR 221: The Urdu Script (a course I developed)
HNUR 411: Health and Medicine in South Asia (a course I developed)
MUSC 212.4 Gamelan Ensemble
MUSC 164 – see ASIA 164
MUSC 240 – see ASIA 240