Archive for the ‘teaching’ Category

Syllabus: Media globalization (grad seminar)

January 8, 2010

All the twittering about syllabi got to me! I suppose I had to get around to re-reviving Bollyspace one way or the other.

Following Alisa Perren, Ben Aslinger, and Annie Peterson, I am posting the syllabus for a grad seminar on Media Globalization that I am teaching this term. Needless to say, there are several ways to approach this topic, and I did struggle to achieve focus. But in the end, I decided to structure the course in terms of a problematic that I am grappling with as I work on my book manuscript – relationships b/w space, place, and media production. I should also note that this draws from courses designed by faculty at other colleges and universities, most notably: Michael Curtin (University of Wisconsin-Madison, CA 950: Globalization of Media) and Marwan Kraidy (University of Pennsylvania, COMM 821: Theory and History of Global Communication).

Looking forward to suggestions.

International and Comparative Media

This course focuses attention on the changing dynamics of media production and patterns of circulation in an era of increasing global connectivity. We will draw on scholarship from media and cultural studies, cultural geography, and political economy to explore media production and circulation in a number of different locations including India, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Lebanon, U.S., and Canada. The first half of the course is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the development of global media/communication theories and various debates that have shaped this field over the past 5-6 decades. The rest of the course is dedicated to exploring the logics of film, television, and digital media in varied sites as a way to map the spatial dynamics of media globalization. This course also provides an opportunity for students to develop an original research project on an aspect of global media industries.


1. Jan. 11                         Orientations

Kwame Anthony-Appaiah, “The case for contamination.” Jan 1, 2006, New York Times.

Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe (excerpts)

Amitava Kumar, “Theory by other means.” Rethinking Marxism, 17 (2), 2006.

2. Jan. 18                         Mass Communication and the world: the development paradigm

Walt Rostow (1960) The Stages of Economic Growth (pp. 1-16, 145-159)

Wilbur Schramm (1964) Mass Media and National Development (pp. 114-144)

Daniel Lerner (1964) The Passing of Traditional Society (pp. 43-75, 398-412)

Everett Rogers (1976) “Communication and Development: The Passing of the

Dominant Paradigm,” Communication Research, 3(2): 121-133.

Karin Wilkins (1998) “Gender, Power and Development,” The Journal of International Communication, 4(2): 102-120.

3. Jan. 25                        Mass Communication and the world: the Cultural Imperialism debate

Screening: Distress Signals

Herbert Schiller (1969) Mass Communication and American Empire (pp. 153-170)

Annabelle Sreberny-Mohammadi (1997) “The many faces of cultural imperialism,” in Golding, P. and Harris, P., Beyond Cultural Imperialism (pp. 49-68), London: Sage.

Joseph Straubhaar (1991) “Beyond media imperialism: Asymmetrical interdependence and cultural proximity,” Critical Studies in Mass Communication 8(1): 29-38.

Anandam Kavoori and Kalyani Chadha (2000) “Media imperialism revisited: Some findings from the Asian case,” Media, Culture and Society, 22(4): 415-436.

4. Feb. 1                        Media and National Culture: beyond development

Screening: Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi (Doordarshan, 1983-84)

From John Hutchinson and Anthony Smith (Eds.), Nationalism New York: OUP, 1994:

  • Max Weber, “The Nation”
  • Gellner, Ernest. “Nationalism and Modernization,” “Nationalism and High Cultures”
  • Eric Hobsbawm, “The nation as invented tradition”
  • Benedict Anderson, “Imagined Communities”

Homi Bhabha (1990) Nation and Narration (pp. 1-7, 291-322)

Purnima Mankekar, Screening Culture, Viewing Politics (pp. 45-103)

Lila Abu-Lughod (2002) “Egyptian Melodrama,” in Faye Ginsburg et al. (Eds.) Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain (pp. 115-133)

5. Feb. 8                        Framing Globalization

David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1990 (pp. 120-188).

Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U Press, 2000 (pp. 325-369 and 393-414)

Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1996 (pp. 27-47)

John Tomlinson, Globalization and culture. Chicago: Univ of Chicago Press, 1999 (pp. 1-27)

Radhika Parameswaran, “The other side of globalization: Communication, culture and postcolonial critique,” Communication, Culture and Critique, 1: 116-125.

6. Feb. 15                        The local and the global

William Mazzarella, Shoveling Smoke: Advertising and Globalization in India. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003 (pp. 215-287)

Toby Miller, et al. Global Hollywood. British Film Institute, 2001 (pp. 259-332)

William Mazzarella, “Culture, Globalization, Mediation,” Annual Review of Anthropology, 2004, 33: 345–67

Visiting Scholar:

Feb 18: Colloquium in Communication Studies (Brian Larkin, Barnard College), 4:00-5:30 pm.

Feb 19: our seminar gets to meet and chat with Brian Larkin (9:00-10:30 am).

7. Feb. 22                        On hybridity

Screenings: Goodness Gracious Me; My Beautiful Launderette

Hall, Stuart. “Diaspora and Cultural Identity,” in Braziel, J.E. & Mannur, A. (Eds.),

Theorizing Diaspora. MA: Blackwell, 2003 (pp. 233-246).

Moya Luckett, “Postnational television? Goodness Gracious Me and the Britasian diaspora,” in Lisa Parks and Shanti Kumar (Eds.), Planet TV. New York: NYU Press, 2000 (pp. 402-422).

Kumar, S. (2005). Innovation, Imitation, and Hybridity in Indian Television. In G. R. Edgerton & B. G. Rose (Eds.), Thinking Outside the Box: A Contemporary Television Genre Reader (pp. 314-335). Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press.

Marwan Kraidy, “Hybridity without guarantees: Toward critical transculturalism,” in Kraidy M. M. (2005), Hybridity, or the Cultural Logic of Globalization. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

8. Mar. 8                        The problem of space and scale

James Carey, “Space, Time, and Communications,” in Communication as Culture. Boston: Hyman, 1989.

Harold Innis, “The problem of space,” in The Bias of Communication. Toronto: Univ of Toronto Press, 1951.

Nick Couldry and Anna McCarthy, “Orientations: Mapping mediaspace,” in MediaSpace: Place, Scale and Culture in a Media Age. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Anna Tsing, Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ Press, 2004 (pp. 55-80).

9. Mar. 15                        Global Cities and Networked Economies

Screening: Coding Culture

Manuel Castells, The Rise of Network Society. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1999 (pp. 407-459).

Saskia Sassen, Global Networks, Linked Cities. New York: Routledge, 2002 (pp. 1-38).

Michael Curtin, “Media Capital: Towards the study of spatial flows,” International Journal of Cultural Studies, 6(2): 202-228, 2003.

10. Mar. 22                        Space, Place, and Media Production: Hong Kong, Vancouver

Michael Curtin. Playing to the World’s Biggest Audience. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Serra Tinic. On Location: Canada’s television industry in a global market. Toronto: Univ of Toronto Press, 2005 (excerpts)

11. Mar. 29                         Space, Place, and Media Production: Hollywood/Bollywood

Nitin Govil, “Hollywood’s Effects, Bollywood F/X,” in Greg Elmer & Mike Gasher (Eds.), Contracting Out Hollywood. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005 (pp. 92-116).

Allen Scott. On Hollywood: the place, the industry. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ Press, 1999 (excerpts)

Tejaswini Ganti. Bollywood. New York: Routledge, 2004 (excerpts)

Kumar, Shanti. “Mapping Tollywood: The Cultural Geography of ‘Ramoji Film City’ in Hyderabad.” Quarterly Review of Film & Video 23 (2006): 129-38.

Ravi Sundaram. Pirate Modernity: Delhi’s Media Urbanism. New Delhi: Routledge, 2009 (excerpts)

12. April 5                        Media, modernity, globalization: Nigeria

Screening: Nollywood Babylon (2009), at the Detroit Institute for Arts. March 13 (further details in class).

Brian Larkin, Signal and Noise: Media, Infrastructure and Urban Culture in Nigeria. Durham: Duke University Press, 2008.

Timothy Mitchell, Questions of Modernity. Minneapolis: Univ of Minnesota Press, 2000 (pp. 1-35).

13. April 12                        Media, modernity, globalization: the Arab World

Marwan Kraidy, Reality TV and Arab Politics: Contention in public life. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

14.  April 19                         Presentations and Course wrap-up

Student presentations of research papers.


Zero Degree Turn: TV, Culture, and Politics in Iran

November 30, 2007

For my course on Global Media and Culture this semester, I had considerable difficulty finding subtitled television shows from Egypt, Lebanon, or Iran. I knew about Lebanese-produced Star Academy thanks to Marwan Kraidy who wrote about the show for Media Commons (link), and I even found a wonderful interview of Begum Nawazish Ali, the cross-dressing host of Late Night Show on Pakistan’s Aaj TV, on Al Jazeera (link). But I was forced to cut back on our focus on everyday life in places like Iran and Pakistan and fall back to talking about Orientalism, Hollywood, and so on. And what’s more, with exceptions like Kraidy’s recent work on reality TV and Arab modernity, and Naomi Sakr’s book on satellite TV in the Middle East, there isn’t much work on TV (in sharp contrast to, say, Iranian film).

So I was excited to read about Zero Degree Turn, a superhit Iranian TV drama about the holocaust. And the best part is, there are several subtitled episodes available online! Here’s an excerpt:

Set in wartime Paris, Zero Degree Turn tells the story of a young Iranian man who helps a Jewish family escape occupied France. Hassan Fathi, the writer, says the show is inspired by Abdol Hussein Sardari, an Iranian consulate officer in Paris who issued Iranian passports to more than 1,00o European Jews during WW-II (more here and here).

Political Bollywood: A BBC radio feature

November 6, 2007

Surfing around the Bollywood section of the BBC website, I came across a two-part radio feature called “political bollywood” that purports to…

…overturn the prevailing image of Indian films…look beneath the glitz, the glamour and the music and you will find that the medium is a canny social engineer, a purveyor of traditions and morality, and a key player in the tumultuous politics of India, the largest democracy in the world.

Beginning with an overview of film production and reception during the colonial era, the feature provides a rather good introduction to cinema in India – Phalke and allegorical/political mythologicals, cinema towards the end of empire, the introduction of sound, the studio era, socialist filmmaking, the use of Hindustani in Bombay cinema, the role of songs in articulating nationalist sentiment, and so on. The one major problem, however, is that this radio feature frames Bombay cinema as “national cinema.” Still, combined with an introductory text like Tejaswini Ganti’s Bollywood: A Popular Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema, this might be a good teaching guide. Listen here.

Bollywood 101 in less than 60 min.

September 18, 2007

I am teaching an upper-level undergraduate course on Global Media and Culture, and we are currently talking about media and the construction of “national” culture(s). And I decided to use post-independence Bombay cinema as a case study. I’ve done this in the past, and it has always been a dicey affair mostly because I’ve had to cobble together film clips spanning six decades and come up with a set of (non-jargony) articles on key aspects of Bombay cinema. Given that it is only part of a larger course, this generally works out well enough and sparks some students’ interest who send me an email about how they can get films and so on. But I’ve been frustrated with the “documentaries” (e.g. Larger than Life) and news features (CBS’ 60 Minutes, for e.g.) out there because they tend to trot out some version of films-for-the-poor-laboring-masses-who-need-escape argument to explain how “different” the films are compared to Hollywood fare.

The good people at the British Film Institute must have been just as frustrated and of course, motivated by the interest in all things Bollywood. As part of the ImagineAsia series, BFI has developed a teaching guide called “Bollywood and Beyond.” In addition to pulling together clips from 1919 (D. G. Phalke era) all the way up to 1998 (Dil Se), the teaching guide includes a CD with a terrific collection of articles on a range of topics. And to make it interesting, I’m going to use this along with some clips from the Queering Bollywood site created by folks at the Alternative Law Forum in Bangalore 🙂