(Offered as ANTH 255 and ASLC 255) This course on South Asian public culture starts from the premise that modernity today is a global experience. Most societies today possess the means to produce local versions of the modern, as Arjun Appadurai and Carol Breckenridge have argued. In this course, we will collectively approach mass culture in South Asia--a staggeringly complex cultural entity--with an eye towards understanding emergent forms of subjectivity, agency, pleasure, and embodied experience. While rethinking the predominantly European notions of publicity, we will study how popular culture in South Asia reflects the intersecting processes of nationalism, globalization, and economic liberalization. Our focus will be on the interface of media and modernity, and in so doing, on the complex negotiations between cultural producers and consumers. We will discuss film, advertising, spatial politics, and popular art to make sense of the region’s postcolonial public life.
Limited to 25 student. Fall semester. Professor Chowdhury.
If Overenrolled: Priority give to majors in Anthropology and ASLC.