This course will explore key topics in contemporary India through an analysis of its popular culture. Bollywood and Kollywood films, Hindi soap operas and reality shows, vernacular music in Bihar, Tamil pulp fiction, matchboxes from Bangalore, clothing styles of Kerala college students, advertising in Mumbai, and cell phones used in Varanasi will all be brought together to help us shape an image of India as complex, contested, and changing. As an anthropology course, we will focus on the consumption of these media and discuss what they do in the world. Looking at both the source material itself and the way in which it is used, we will explore topics such as: nationalism, gender and sexuality, middle class aspiration, globalization, neoliberal consumerism, and the postcolonial condition.


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