Department of English, College of LAS, University of Illinois


Illinois Department of English Blog

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Welcome to the Department of English blog.



My name is Vicki Mahaffey and I took over as
head of the department on July 1, 2016. I'll be using this site to post updates and information of interest to our faculty, students, and alumni,
along with reflections about our discipline(s) in particular and the humanities in general. As anyone who has ever worked or studied here knows, the Department of English is a vibrant place. If you have something you'd like to see posted here, or if you want to contact me about the content of this blog, drop me an email at vmahaffe@illinois.edu.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bollywood in the Age of New Media


I've just learned that the first advance copies of Anustup Basu's new book have arrived. The book--Bollywood in the Age of New Media: The Geo-televisual Aesthetic--is published by Edinburgh University Press. Though this is a book grounded in Basu's deep scholarly expertise in the area if Indian cinema, it is also a a book whose implications--concerning globalization and aesthetics--should be of broader interest too. For this reason, I am here pasting in the longer book description from the Edinburgh UP website instead of the short version you find on Amazon.com:

"This study of popular Indian cinema in an age of globalisation, new media, and metropolitan Hindu fundamentalism focuses on the period from 1991 to 2004. Popular Hindi cinema took a certain spectacular turn from the early nineties as a signature 'Bollywood style' evolved in the wake of liberalization and the inauguration of a global media ecology in India. Films increasingly featured transformed bodies, fashions, life-styles, commodities, gadgets, and spaces, often in non-linear, 'window-shopping' ways, without any primary obligation to the narrative. Flows of desires, affects, and aspirations frequently crossed the bounds of stories and determined milieus. One example is the film Haqeeqat that featured poor working class protagonists, but romantic musical sequences transported them abruptly to Switzerland, with the actors now dressed in designer suits. Basu theorises this overall cinematic-cultural ecology here as an informational geo-televisual aesthetic.

This book connects this filmic geo-televisual style to an ongoing story of the uneven globalizing process in India. Basu argues that 'Bollywood' is not so much indicative of a uniquely Indian modernity coming into its own; rather it is symptomatic of a pure techno-financial modernization that comes without a political modernity. Bollywood in the Age of New Media therefore explains how the irreverent energies of the new can actually be tied to conservative Brahminical imaginations of class, caste, or gender hierarchies. Using a wide-ranging methodological approach that converses with theoretical domains of post-structuralism, post-colonialism, and film and media studies, this book presents a complex account of an India of the present caught between brave new silicon valleys and farmer suicides."

For more Basu-related news--this time of a variety that is very near to my own early-modernist heart--check out this recent story from the Times of India.



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