[This course was offered at the University of Washington, January-March 1999]
South Asia Film and Media Courses

Media and Society in South Asia
Materials || Films || Schedule

SISSA 490 A: 3 Credits
MWF 11:30-1:20: Winter, 1999
Instructor: Keith Snodgrass: Office: 303 Thomson
Office Hours: Tues. and Wed., 10-12, or by appointment
Phone: 543-4800, email <snodgras@u.washington.edu>
Course Web Page: < http://weber.u.washington.edu/~sascuw/film.html>

Accommodation Statement: If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Student Services, 448 Schmitz, 543-8924 (voice/TDD). If you have a letter from DSS indicating that you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to me so we can discuss the accommodations you might need for class.

Required Materials:
Media and the Transformation of Religion in South Asia (Lawrence Babb and Susan Wadley, eds.)
Ramayana (comic book version published by Amar Chitra Katha)
A Reader of about 200 pages to be picked up at Ram�s Copy Center on the Ave.

This course will focus on the relationship between media structures and products and the society in which they are produced. Questions addressed will include:
What effect has the oral tradition had on modern media?
What effect have television and movies had on South Asian Society?.
What has been the effect of the modern media on older art forms?
What social and political conflicts has the media addressed and engendered?
What effects has Indian media had outside of India and outside of South Asia?

Grade Computation:
Class Participation  20%  200 points
Presentation   20%  200 points
Short Paper   20%  200 points
Final Paper   40%  400 points

Participation: Your participation in class will be assessed on a daily basis. There are several criteria for defining good participation: 1)Presence in class 2) preparation for class (completion of required readings and assignments) 3)constructive and informed spoken contributions to class discussions 4) interest in and efforts to maintain an environment in which every class member feels able to learn and participate

Presentation You will be assigned a topic on which you will be required, working with one or two other students, to make a short (15 minutes) presentation in class.

Short Paper. A 2 page paper with your ideas about a topic you select. More details at the end of this syllabus.

Final Paper A 12 -18 page research paper which includes your original ideas about a topic you select, and which is documented and written in correct academic style. More details at the end of this syllabus.

Assigned readings should be completed by the day on which they are listed in the Class Calendar.

Course Assumptions:
students are not required or expected to have any prior knowledge of South Asia.
students are not required or expected to have any prior knowledge of media studies.
South Asia is defined as the nations of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives and Bangladesh (a case can be made for Afghanistan if someone is interested in something there)
students have a voice in how the class is run: feedback on course structure, materials and teaching methods is encouraged, and the instructor will attempt to make adjustments where possible.

Some films we will see include:
Mother India (1957) Still one of India�s most popular movies. Starring Nargis and Sunil Dutt. The classic story of peasant struggles against landlord exploitation, and how a mother tries alone to raise dutiful sons.
Sholay (1975) Starring Amitabh Bacchan, the movie which ushered in the era of violence as entertainment in Indian film.
Jai Santoshi Ma (1975) A film which engendered a cult around a particular goddess who is the title character in this film.
Garam Hawa (1973) Chronicles the plight of a Muslim family in post-partition North India. The Mirza family in Agra must decide whether to emigrate to Pakistan or not, and this film illustrates the slow dispersal and disintegration of the family as it deals with this dilemma.
Ramayana (1987-88) Television serial produced by Ramanand Sagar, it was (at the time) the most popular serial ever broadcast in India. Based on the epic of the same name, we will investigate its impact on Indian social, political and religious life.

Class Schedule

Mon., Jan. 4
 Intro and class: The Evolution of Media in South Asia: The Historical Context
 Reading: No assigned reading
Wed., Jan. 6 Amy Lally, Film Maker, Films: Ballad of the Causeway and Jala Do (Torch the Pyre) followed by discussion with the film maker.
Fri, Jan. 8 Irene Joshi, South Asia Librarian speaks on how to use the library
  Reading: · Amar Chitra Katha Ramayana (entire);
 ·Media and the Transformation of Religion in South Asia, "The World of Amar Chitra Katha" and "The Saints Subdued: Domestic Virtue and National Integration in Amar Chitra Katha (pp. 76-134)
Jan. 11
 Film: Kings, Lovers and Thieves
 Reading:  ·Playing with Modernity: The Decolonization of Indian Cricket (in reader)
 ·The Use of Music in Popular Film: East and West" (pp. 77-87) in India International Centre Quarterly (in reader)
Jan. 13
 Class: Censorship
 Reading:  ·"Balancing Act", "Sex, Bloodbaths and a pair of Scissors", from Cinemaya, Vol. 4, July-Sept. �89 (in reader)
Jan. 15
 Films: In The Name of God and Father, Son and Holy War
Jan. 20
 Film : Mother India
 Reading:  ·Media and the Transformation of Religion in South Asia, "Market Forces at Work: Religious Themes in Commercial Hindi Films" (pp. 191-216)
 ·"Melodrama and the Negotiation of Morality in Mainstream Hindi Film", Rosie Thomas, pp. 157-183 (in reader)
Jan. 22 Film: Mother India (cont.)
Jan. 25
 ASSIGNMENT DUE - 2 page assignment outlined below is due at the beginning of class today.
 Reading:  ·"New Uses of the Romantic-Mythic Tradition" in National Identity in Indian Popular Cinema 1947-1987, Sumita S. Chakravarty, Univ. of Texas Press, Austin, 1993
Jan. 27
Jan. 29
 Film: Sholay
 Reading:   ·Sholay: A Cultural Reading, pp. 69-130,
 ·Villains: Ever changing yet never changing (pp. 18-19 in reader)
Feb. 1
 Film: Cont. Sholay
 Reading:  ·Sholay: A Cultural Reading, pp. 69-130,
Feb. 3
 Film Jai Santoshi Maa
 Reading: · The Mythological Film and its Framework of Meaning: An Analysis of Jai Santoshi Ma (in Reader)
Feb. 5 Film: Jai Santoshi Maa (cont.)
Feb. 8 Assignment: Rough Draft of final paper (3 copies)
Feb. 10 Peer Review of rough draft of final paper
Feb. 12
 Film Garam Hawa
 Readings:  ·To be announced
Feb. 17 Cont. Garam Hawa
Feb. 19
 Class: Media and Politics
 Reading: · The Politics of Adulation: Cinema and the Production of Politicians in South India (JAS, Vol. 52, No. 2, pp. 340-372), India aims to grant autonomy to state-owned media (pg. 1 in reader)and Artitstes� plea to Jaipal Reddy (p. 3 in reader) and House panel queries safeguards against unicensed channels (p. 4 in reader) and Centre bands DTH services and Broadcasting bill to provide level-playing field for private channels and Ambivalence in a STAR-y Eyed Land: Doordarshan and the Satellite TV Challenge (pp. 6-17 in reader)
Feb. 22
 Film Ramanand Sagar�s TV Ramayana
 Reading:  · Media and the Transformation of Religion in South Asia, All in the (Raghu) Family: A Video Epic in Cultural Context (pp. 217-253) and Indian cinemas dress up to seduce (p. 4 in reader) Cont. Ramanand Sagar�s TV Ramayana
Feb. 24
 Class: Media in Other South Asian Countries
 Reading: · "A Defiant Survivor" in Cinemaya No. 23, Spring �94 (in reader), The Quaid Movie - at last some answers and Jinnah�s Film - Christopher Lee (pp. 2-3 in reader) and Pakistanis fume and fret over Internet site on 1971 Indo-Pak war (p. 5 in reader) and NEPAL TELEVISION - Surrender to the Satellite Challenge and Caught between Zee and Zia and collecting Orbital Junk (pp. 19-25 in reader)
Feb. 26
 Television Class; Television
 Reading:  ·The Dream Factory Comes Home (pp. 82-99 in reader)

Mar. 1 Class: Divya McMillin
Mar. 3 Film: Newstrack Final paper due
Mar. 5 wrap up
Mar. 8
Mar. 10
Mar. 12.

 Written Assignments
There are two written assignments for this course
First assignment - DUE JANUARY 25TH
This is a 2 page paper, written in correct academic style. All quotations or ideas which are not your own need to be properly cited. No research is required, although it is not discouraged. In this paper, I want to hear what you think about the issue you have selected, not a restatement of themes discussed in class or in the readings. I am looking for good ideas, and opportunities for you to explore your writing abilities.
Some potential topics for this paper are:
Is censorship in India (or another South Asian country) necessary? Explain your determination.
Explain why the popular cinema industry in India (or another South Asian country) is or is not ruled by the same compulsions as Hollywood is.
Given a different ideological bent, in what other way could the editors of Amar Chitra Katha�s comic book series have altered the major characters in their series?
Explain the popularity of Mother India or why you are surprised at its popularity.

The final paper should be 10-15 pages long. It should be written in proper research, academic style. There are several style manuals available (at the bookstore or at the library) including the Chicago Manual of Style, Strunk and White, or others. Consult one of these manuals, select one of the styles, and stick with it. I am not particular about what particular style you select, just that you are consistent and clear. Let me know if you have trouble finding what you need.
Possible topics are:
 What role has media played in the Indo-Pakistan conflicts since Independence?
 What role has media played in the rise of Hindu Nationalism in India since the mid 1980�s?
 Examine a pre-mechanical age art form, such as dance or drama. How has it been portrayed in film? How has it been altered by film?
How has the commercial cinema dealt with representing the many different ethnic groups in Indian society? Why has this topic been dealt with in the way it has?
Discuss how women are portrayed in South Asian media, how this portrayal has changed over the last 50 years, and what it has meant for family and other social constructions.
Examine the effects of the spread of televisions, television viewership and viewing of non-South Asian produced materials on a South Asian audience.
There are a plethora of other potential topics, including sex, violence, religion, modernity, music, nationalism, Gandhism, history, politics, and many others, which could be a fruitful area of research, and I am very open to ideas other than those outlined above. Please discuss with me whatever topic you select.

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South Asia Film and Media Courses

This original course listing was reformated for the web
by Philip McEldowney, pm9k @ virginia.edu
Last updated