Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Interesting Fall 2009 Culture Studies Course: REL-R 388 Mandir and Masjid at the Movies

Mandir and Masjid at the Movies
12511 / 12512 Fall 1:00P-2:15P TR
BH 245 Manring
Course carries Arts and Humanities and Culture Studies “A” distribution.

Mandir (temple), masjid (mosque), and other religious sites make frequent appearances in South Asian cinema, sometimes for surprising reasons.
In this course we will consider the meaning of religion in South Asia using film as our lens to explore “ambiguity of the sacred-secular distinction in Indian culture.” We will begin by reading and discussing two chapters on how scholars “read” film, with a bit of practice in class before our first film screening. Each week we will watch and discuss, in detail, one film.

Our broad topics include partition, gender, myth, fundamentalism, and the Diaspora. We will come to know a range of views on religion and its roles in the lives of South Asians through film produced in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and our reading of critical articles for each film. The films include mythologicals, social commentary, and Bollywood blockbusters, all of which have a great deal to tell us about religion in South Asia.

No prerequisites or prior knowledge of South Asian religions needed.

Other movies we may study, in addition to some very recent Bollywood films, include:
“Khamosh Pani” (“Silent Water”)
“Hey Ram”
“Matir Moina” (“The Clay Bird”)