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COLUMN Name politics Whilst there are good arguments for re-examine naming in academic citations, making specific allowances for certain scholars over others reminds us that academia continues to be elitist, thinks Payal Arora.
It was a typical academic workshop. “Madhu Madhu” was the next presenter. This Indian female academic came on stage and started to explain the politics behind her name and how it went wrong. Her name was just “Madhu.” Not “Madhu Madhu.” In India, you can tell a person’s caste by his/her last name. There is pervasive discrimination based on the caste to which you belong. Since you are born into a caste, there is absolute immobility. This is a barrier to social equality, also in academia. For these reasons, she was politically motivated to drop her last name. When she applied to do this workshop in the United Kingdom, she explained her name change multiple times to the organisers. However, columns needed to be filled and this diverged from academic protocol. Hence…

Kitsch me if you can...

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Easter weekend is here.

Out hops the stuffed bunnies in all shapes and sizes; they hang from windows, perch happily at mall cafes and frame chocolate isles of supermarkets. Its not a sin to be furry and cute. Its their duty. Their presence is considered appropriate to mark this ritual event. In fact, we expect kitsch to be at places of common ground only to reinforce our social distance from it. The masses allow for the elite to exist.

So it is no wonder that one feels unnerved when one sees these creatures in their furry glory infiltrate your exclusive moments at what you consider a classy Belgian restaurant. While a real French speaking hostess serves a four course meal and punctuates your dinner at strategic times to make sure your wine glass is full, you see Easter kitsch seep through EVERYWHERE!

As you sit by the window, a wonderful landscape view of the hills of the Ardennes is tainted by a nest of eggs on your table; a humble potted plant is violated by gaudy yellow feathers sh…