Films, besides serving as an important instructive means to deliver sociological content, have also recently made their way into more structured courses on Media Sociology. It becomes particularly pertinent for cultivating global sociological imagination in the classroom. This chapter is a pedagogical reflection discussing the potentials of integrating Bollywood films into a first-year seminar, the content of which at many levels is comparable to basic sociology classes. The reflection is based out of the experience of teaching a freshmen class on Bollywood to a body of students with little past exposure, or knowledge of this movie industry. The chapter will initiate a dialogue on strategies of introducing the content, encouraging engagement and critical thinking, how to build on essential global sociological imagination along with a summary of what works and what does not. For this chapter, I will detail on the three contemporary Bollywood films (Ishaqzaade, Monsoon Wedding, and Dor), which I use to engage in a dialogue on family, class, and gender. Next, I will apply Sutherland and Fetley’s (2013) framework to explore the sociological relevance of these films (thus validating my choice of these works for pedagogical purposes) and also demonstrate possible hegemonic versus oppositional ways of reading these texts, which students are supposed to decipher and apply. Contemporary Bollywood films in many ways mirror aspects of the life course experienced in the United States and can be instrumental in encouraging a diverse undergraduate curriculum.
My gratitude to the different cohorts of freshmen at Rhode Island College, who took my class between 2015 and 2018 and helped me realize my own Bollywood dream while teaching me to appreciate the films discussed in this chapter, in new and nuanced ways.
Chaudhuri, T. (2018), "From the Raja to the Desi Romance: A Sociological Discourse on Family, Class, and Gender in Bollywood", The M in CITAMS@30 (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 18), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 149-166. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2050-206020180000018010Download as .RIS
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