Cinema and Culture in India
Cultural Diversity and Research Methods
This course aims to introduce the varied products of the world's largest film industry to students with no specialized knowledge of the subject. The first objective is to survey the linguistic and cultural diversity of India, examining how different genres of Indian film relfect, distort, or utilize this diversity, and contrast them with Western films on India, the perspectives and presuppositions of which are often very different.
Interpretations of 'universality.'
Students will become acquainted with many of the above major themes in more depth by analyzing the work of Satyajit Ray (1921-1992), the Indian film-maker Western critics are most familiar with. Students will learn how the content, style, and objectives of Ray's films were shaped by his intellectural and cultural contexts. Western as well as Indian critics have often portrayed Ray simply as a "univeral humanist" or "transnatioanl auteur." Students in this course will learn how to interpret the universality of Ray's work as a cultural product dialectically related to its unrelenting particularism.