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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rahul Krishna Gairola
B CUSP 188
Bothell Campus

Topics in Asian Cultures

Introduces the traditional arts, cultures, and history of countries of Asia. Emphasizes the interaction between culture and geography, politics, economies, and social structures that shape, and are shaped by cultural processes and products. Specific countries varies with the instructor and quarter offered. Offered: WSp.

Class description

Bollywood Bound: Popular Cinema of India and the Politics of Identity

The overall goal of this course is to immerse both Film Studies majors and non-majors in the images, (re)presentations, music, history, geography, and culture of the largest film industry in the world. This is the film industry of India, which is often mistakenly called “Bollywood,? a portmanteau that is formed when splicing the words “Bombay? and “Hollywood.? As it suggests, the term “Bollywood? describes a combination of Hindi filmic and American techniques, yet does not describe the vast field of visual texts that constitute the cinema of India (like Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Urdu, Marathi, etc. cinemas). This course thus starts by destabilizing any rigid definition of Indian cinema and instead chronologically view films and read texts that give us a sense of prevalent themes and plot kernels in Hindi cinema. In particular, we will examine geo-historical contexts including the colonization of South Asia by the British Crown, the World Wars, the Partition, the secession of East Pakistan and declaration of an independent Bangladesh, Emergency Rule, assassination of Indira and Rajiv Gandhi, the dawning of nuclear South Asia, and the terrorists attacks in Mumbai and New Delhi. Against the backdrop of this timeline, we shall plot key films that we will read as signs of the time, and whose themes and techniques reflect the historical moment in which they are birthed; these films are case studies that are by no means all-inclusive of Hindi cinema.

Student learning goals

Cultural literacy in visual texts

Historical depth of South Asia

Basic film terminology

Critical lens cultivation

Ability to speak with clarity and integrity when speaking with peers

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Short responses that will culminate into a Final Paper

Engaged participation and writing assignments


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Rahul Krishna Gairola
Date: 02/05/2013