Priya Jaikumar on “Background Bodies”

When 8 Nov 2018
6:15PM - 7:45PM
Where The South Asia Institute at Columbia University, 208 Knox Hall,
606 West 122nd Street
New York, NY
United States
A talk by Priya Jaikumar (University of Southern California), 
author of Cinema at the End of Empire: A Politics of Transition in Britain and India

Abstract: A film’s background encodes many histories. The composition and appearance of a Bollywood film’s background speaks of the socio-economic histories of India’s globalization and its particular mix of aggressive privatization, ethnocentrism, and the uneven corporatization of relational transactions. In this talk, Dr. Jaikumar builds on her conversations with industry professionals in 2013 to outline a spatial film historiography that asks historians to account for a politics and phenomenology of the places and bodies that become a part of abstracted onscreen spaces. She argues that cinema’s heterogeneous artifactual status as a regulated and profit-making product, technological apparatus, representational medium and employment opportunity links the changing look of a Bollywood blockbuster’s mise-en-scène to current commodifications of land and leisure, and the technologization of environment.

Bio: Priya Jaikumar is Associate Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. She works on colonial and postcolonial cinemas, comparative modernities and aesthetics, film policy, state power, theories of history and cultural geography. Jaikumar is the author of Cinema at the End of Empire: A Politics of Transition in Britain and India (Duke, 2006) and Where Histories Reside: India as Filmed Space, forthcoming in 2019 from Duke University Press.

Photo courtesy of the organizer.

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