Neukom Family Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences and COSAS member William Mazzarella will be a Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall College, University of Cambridge during the first half of 2024.
While there, he will be working on his book project Mad Men of Bombay: A Chronicle of Magic and Loss. The project is based on twenty-five years of research, including dozens of interviews with members of the Bombay ad world of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as archival research in India, the US, and the UK.
At the project’s narrative center is the spectacular rise and fall of one advertising agency, MCM (1965-75) and its charismatic founder and leader, Kersy Katrak, who was also a published poet and a practicing occultist. Married into India’s political elite – his father-in-law was at one point Finance Minister – the eros of his advertising persona was inseparable from his pursuit of a distinctive English-language literary modernism and his immersion in transnational circuits of spiritualism and esotericism. It was also inseparable from the political culture of the period in which Mrs. Gandhi was assembling a new kind of authoritarian populism.
Congratulations to Professor Mazzarella on this fellowship.