Ravi Vasudevan: Media and the Constitution of the Political; South Asia and Beyond

About the book

This volume features the writings of leading media scholars from South Asia and Europe on the topic of how media articulates political energies and transformational logics. The research traverses the press, newsreels, entertainment cinema, photography, television, music, social media and data-driven politics. The authors consider how media industries, institutions and practices constitute sites where conflicts relating to wider social change are observable. Authors address media materiality and aesthetics in tracking political effects and resonances on subjects such as wire photo transfers, film set design, the formal structures of the newsreel, the role of television audience surveys, the relationship between digital and paper records, the place of media in courts of law and the phenomenon of the media trial. The overall approach in understanding media and the political is not only to access formal institutions, both of media and politics but also to expand perspective to trace the wider dispersed appearance of the political in and through media.

Table of Contents


Introduction Ravi Vasudevan

PART I A Mediatized Territoriality

Films in the Diplomatic Bag: Sovereignty, Censorship and the Foreign Mission Film in East Pakistan and Bangladesh Lotte Hoek

East German Media in a Changing Society: Press, Music Culture and Regional Identity after 1990 Frank Bösch

Configurations of Partition: The Indian Newsreel Archive in the 1940s Ravi Vasudevan

PART II Infrastructures and Ecologies

Political Photography in the 20th Century Annette Vowinckel

Courting the Amateur Photographer: The Contested Worlds of Advertising in Mid-century India Sabeena Gadihoke

The Cinematic Map of the Bombay Slum Ranjani Mazumdar

PART III Media Publics

Television Viewers and Feminism in 1970s’ North America: How All in the Family Drove Value Change Christina Von Hodenberg

Fandom and Performative Political Regimes S. V. Srinivas

The Affective Surplus of Judicial Populism: Law, Media and Mimicry Lawrence Liang

PART IV Digital politics

The Fringe as Media Infrastructure Ravi Sundaram

Target Politics: Digital and Data technologies and Election Campaigns—A View from India Srirupa Roy



Ravi Vasudevan is Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), and works in the area of film and media history. With Ravi Sundaram, he directs Sarai, the CSDS media research programme, and with Srirupa Roy, the thematic module on media for the International Centre for Advanced Studies: Metamorphoses of the Political (ICAS:MP). His publications include Making Meaning in Indian Cinema (2000), The Melodramatic Public: Film Form and Spectatorship in Indian Cinema (2010) and Documentary Now (Marg special issue 2018). He is the founding editor of the screen studies journal BioScope. His current research is on the documentary film archive and the writing of history.

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