Syma Tariq

PhD Student

2018 – present

Syma Tariq is a radio journalist, writer and editor who arrived to PhD research after producing the South Asia-focused radio-art project A Thousand Channels*. She has long had an interest in sound and its relation to politics.

Syma holds a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Contemporary History from Queen Mary University of London and a Masters in the History of Political Thought from the University of Sussex. She is a recipient of an AHRC TECHNE award.

*Commissioned for the Ancestors public programme as part of the 16th Venice Biennale exhibition My East is Your West, curated by Natasha Ginwala

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Listening across history: Partition, coloniality and the oral archive

How far do colonial subjectivities pervade the oral archives of the partitioned Indian subcontinent? How can practices of listening impact the production of such archives?

This research aims to interrogate the diverse oral historical practices that frame the 1947 Partition of British India, through listening to and attending to its archival constructions. Voice has become central to the making of Partition, and South Asian, history. My research therefore aims to refocus on Partition according to its sonic traces. My investigation into the “artefactualisation” of voices seeks to reveal whether a colonial politics of subjectivisation pervades their making, characterising the ways in which certain voices are selected, recorded, presented and curated. I intend to articulate potential practices of listening to such archives – an important seat of knowledge and site of historical value embedded with its own specific politics and processes of material reproduction.


In progress

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