Course Coordinator: Anup Dhar
This is a ‘post-cinema’ course. It makes the following proposition, that one way of looking at the cinema’s role in India is to ask this question: what are the spaces that the cinema institution used to occupy? What has replaced it in those spaces? India’s metropolitan public spaces are today hugely mediatized – for example, by the architectures of cyberspace re-introduced into physical reorganization of everyday life, or the cultural translation of ‘connectivity’ into networked neighbourhoods through cable television or various forms of ‘local area networks’. Can these recent phenomena also tell us something about how the cinema – as their ancestor, and the most distinctive example of technological mediation of the public sphere in the 20th Century – went about its business?
Bangalore, on which the present course focuses its inquiry, is a useful place to begin. Bangalore is of course well known (some would say notorious) as the ‘back office’ of global IT services. The city has a long history going back to pre-colonial times, and to several economies apart from the one it is best known for: Business Process Outsourcing (or BPO). It has a number of significant cutting-edge initiatives in various media. Many of these initiatives are, we may say, ‘underground’ or, as some would call them, ‘invisible’.
The course will focus mainly on three kinds of such invisible media: film, cable TV and the internet. In each, we will investigate the physical spaces that these media occupy, and have historically occupied. We will do a kind of ethnography of mediatized space in these areas. And at all times we will track our insights back into what the cinema may say to them, to what the cinema ‘used to be’.
I: Post-Cinema: City/Media
Day 1: Introduction to the Course. What is the Cinema? What is a City? What are Media?
Pico Iyer, Video Nights in Kathmandu.
Fun@Sun (from Coding Cultre: Bangalore's Software Industry, Gautam Sonti, 2006)
Day 2: The Unintended City
Jai Sen, ‘The Unintended City’ (Seminar, n 500, April 2001):
Ashis Nandy, The Darkness of the City (City One conference, available at: http://www.sarai.net/resources/event-proceedings/2003/city-one/Nandy.mp3
Day 3: The Urban Phantasmagoria
SCREENING: Kadhalan (Shankar, Tamil, 1994)
Vivek Dhareshwar and Tejaswini Niranjana, ‘Kaadalan and the Politics of Resignification’, Journal of Arts & Ideas no 29, Jan 1996 (http://dsal.uchicago.edu/books/artsandideas/pager.html?issue=29&objectid=HN681.S597_29_007.gif)
Anupama Chopra, ‘Can Bollywood Please All the People, All the Time?’ New York Times, Oct 29, 2006
Students will have to come to class on the 18th of June with a 500-word written reflection on either ‘The Unintended City’ or ‘Video Nights in Kathmandu’.
Day 4: Workshop on Institutional Collaborations
10 AM - 1 PM: Getting a sense of new ways to looking at institutions and themes in the emerging Indian academia.
Questions: Which way is the Indian academia going? How is it trying to make sense of global concerns as against concerns that were ‘national’/‘state-driven’? What are new thematic specifics that are being given shape to? What are the new institutional designs that are big experimented with?
1 PM - 5 PM: Visit to the National Institute of Advanced Studies (1 pm to 5 pm).
Day 5: Visit to Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (Guest Speaker: Vasanthi Dass) [10 am to 5 pm]
Day 6: Students to attend CSCS Ph.D. candidate Meera Ashar’s open defence of her doctoral thesis entitled 'Problematising Democracy' [2 p.m. – 5 p.m.]. Ashis Nandy from CSDS, who is also a National fellow at Indian Ccouncin for Social Science Research, will be the external examiner of her thesis.
Day 1: What is a Community?
Arjun Appadurai, ‘Archive and Aspiration’
Vyjayanti Rao, ‘Is an Entire City an Archive?’
Students are to attend Ashis Nandy’s talk entitled ‘The Language of Religion and the Fear of Democracy in a Post-Secular World’
Students are to come to class on the 24th of June with a 500-word written reflection on either ‘Archive and Aspiration’ or ‘Is an Entire City an Archive?’
Day 2: 25th June: Networked Communities
Lawrence Liang, ‘Media Empires and Renegade Pirates’
Clifton Rozario, ‘Cyber Myths and the rest of those who also live in Silicon valley’
Lawrence Liang, ‘Copyright, Cultural Production and Open Content Licensing’
Day 3: The Networked Neighbourhood
Shuddhabrata Sengupta, December 13: 'Media Trials and Courtroom Tribulations : A Battle of Images, Words and Shadows'
Shaina Anand/Ashok Sukumaran’s films
Shaina Anand, 'Wi C TV'
Veena Naregal (2000) 'Cable communications in Mumbai: integrating corporate interests with local and media networks', (Contemporary South Asia, 9:3, 289 - 314)
Day 4 and Day 5: God’s Holy Men and Religion in India.
Field Visit to Whitefield Ashram
29th June to 7th July:
Trip to Kerala.
Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
III. Culture and Industry
Day 1: City and Culture: Techno Narratives of Globalisation
Day 2: City and the Cinema
Students are to submit a 1500-word assignment on either (1) Concepts used in the course or (2) some Reading that has been used in the course.
Day 3: Field Visit to Infosys
Students will receive feedback on their assignments.
Day 4: Field Visit
Day 5: 2 to 6 p.m.: Students are to make a 20-minute presentation culled out from their assignments.