[Please note the date of this course and its
it is likely it has NOT been updated; but serves as models for future
Syllabus - University of Virginia - Spring 1998
Gender and Media in South Asia
Instructor: Ruhi Grover. Email was: email@example.com
Course number: Drama 283
Location/Time: Cabell 241 / T & Th. 9:30-10:45
The interplay and contradiction between the images and the reality of
gender identity in South Asia continues to raise concerns of
representation. This course deals with the construction of gender
identities, and explores some essentializing categories--traditional vs.
modern, oppression vs. liberation--that have been used to understand the
position of women (and men) in South Asia. One way of doing this is by
examining the way in which media--both visual and print--has treated
gender, and the extent to which it has been able to disseminate the
"truth" or capture the "real lives" of women in the economic and social
sphere. In sum, this course highlights how images and representations
of gender illustrate a South Asian understanding of itself.
*Class participation (20 %)
* Midterm (30 %)
* Final - A 10-page paper on any issue that is discussed in class. The
students willhave to refer to relevant films, newspapers, and magazines
for this paper (50 %)
This will also include a class presentation of the final paper.
Mrinal Pande. The subject is woman. New Delhi, Sanchar
Publishing House, 1990.
Meera Kosambi ed. Women's oppression in the public gaze: an
analysis of newspaper coverage, state action and activist response.
Bombay, Research Center for Women's University, 1994
Ammu Joseph & Kalpana Sharma eds. Whose News? The Media and
Women's Issues. Delhi, Sage Publications, 1994
Prabha Krishnan & Anita Dighe. Affirmation and Denial:
Construction of Feminity on Indian Television. Delhi, Sage
Vimal Balasubrahmanyan. Mirror Image: The Media and the Women's
Question. Bombay, Centre for Education and Documentation, 1988.
January 15: Introduction: problematizing gender and media
Jan. 20: Women in media
Reading: Mrinal Pande, The subject is woman.
New Delhi, Sanchar Pub. House, 1990
Arjun Appadurai & Carol Breckeridge, "public
modernity in India," CR
[CR= Clemons Library Reserve
Jan. 22: Why media?
Reading: Usha Reddi, "Media and Culture in Indian Society: Conflict or Co-operation?" CR
Graham Murdoch, "Communications and the cost of modernity." CR
Jan. 27: The visual medium: cinema
women, nation, and the outsider in Indian cinema
film clippings: mother India; coolie; saaz (based on
Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle)
Jan. 29: Discussion of the films and readings
Readings: Leela Rao, "woman in Indian films - a
paradigm of continuity & change;"
Rosie Thomas, "melodrama and the negotiation of
morality mainstream hindi films."
Aruna Vasudeva, "The woman: vamp or victim"
Rita Manchanda, "hype and heroines: is the new..."
Feb. 3: The public and the private
Film: Bandit Queen
Feb. 5: Discuss the film
Readings: Molly Heskel, "From reverence to rape," pp.
Kishwar, "The Bandit Queen," Manushi, no. 84, Sept.-Oct. 1994,
Feb 10: S. Asian women filmmakers abroad
What do you call an Indian woman who's funny?" VHS8431
Interview with Mira Nair, Newstrack, April 1992
Feb. 12: Documenting success stories
film: Kamala and Raji: working women of SEWA
Feb. 17: Zooming into the private
Feb. 19: Discuss the documentaries
Readings: SEWA: Women in Movement, CR
Feb. 24: Television in a new avatar
Newstrack: Jan. 1990, "Media: unmuzzling Doordarshan
Newstrack: May 1992, "Media Revolution: Glasnost at last"
Readings: A. Rajagopal, "The rise of national
programming: the case of Indian television." CR
Arvind Rajagopal, "Mediating Modernity" CR
Feb. 26: Construction of feminity on television
Reading: Prabha Krishnan and Anita Dighe, Affirmation
Mary Ellen Brown, "Introduction: Feminist Cultural
Television Criticism - Culture, Theory and Practice," "Conclusion:
Consumption and Resistance - The Problem of Pleasure." CR
March 3: Is the media bias?
Readings: "re-marketing the whore," "hidden face of
patriarchy, "struggling for space," "action for change"
John Corner, "television in theory," CR
* Mid-term will be distributed in class
March 5: Reading between the lines: newspaper coverage
Reading: Whose News? Dowry, Rape, the Shah bano Controversy
Newstrack: August 89 "final push over the edge," TOI
* mid-term papers due
March 17: Newspaper coverage (continued)
Female Foeticide, Roop Kanwar Tragedy
March 19: Magazine scene
India Today, Cosmopolitan, Stardust, Manushi, (Kanwal
to send magazines)
Reading: "Birthing Terrible Beauties," EPW, vol. 26,
no. 43, 1991
March 24 : Dalda 13: First woman photo-journalist in India
March 26: Women in media
Newstrack: June 1990: Kiran Bedi, Shabana Azmi
Newstrack: Oct. 1991: Shobha De
Sept. 1992: Medha Patekar
PRESENTATIONS IN CLASS
March 31: Urvashi Butalia, "English textbooks, Indian Publishers." CR
April 2: Advertizing a "product."
Reading: Prabha Krishnan, "Applauding Servility:
Images of women in advertisements." Nandini Prasad, "Commercial
advertising and portrayal of women." CR Read Times of India
sesquicentennial publication of advertisements.
April 7: Radio: A woman's place on the air?
April 9: Changing Media history through women's history
April 14: Students will present their papers
April 16: - do-
April 21: - do-
April 23: - do-
April 28: Summing up: Communication and the public sphere
Reading: John Keane, "Structural transformations of
the public sphere." CR
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[Originally (1999-2000?) located at as a University of Virginia
Center for South Asian Studies Teaching