Debashree Mukherjee

Columbia University

Mediated Ocean: An Audiovisual History of Colonial Traffic Between Africa and Asia

At the Institute I will begin research on my second book project which is on comparative colonialisms and comparative media. I am interested in histories of South-South media exchange as routed through the infrastructures and economies of European colonialism. I wish to track histories of media objects such as photographs, films, and print ephemera that traveled across Asia and Africa in the twentieth century, bringing us new insights on the operations of power and pleasure across indentured and diasporic communities.

Debashree Mukherjee teaches film and media in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies at Columbia University. Her current book manuscript, “Bombay Hustle: Practices of Modernity in a Colonial Cine-Ecology,” presents a practitioner's eye view of the emergence of the Bombay film industry, bringing material history into dialogue with feminist film historiography and media studies. The book draws inspiration from Debashree’s own experience of working in Mumbai's film and television industries in the early 2000s. She has published in various academic journals and anthologies and is a core editor with the peer-reviewed journal, BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies. As a curator, Debashree most recently presented a collection of rare production stills and behind-the-scenes photographs from the 1930s in the exhibition, “A Cinematic Imagination: Josef Wirsching and the Bombay Talkies” at the Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa (2017).

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