Rochona Majumdar - "Art Cinema and India's Forgotten Futures" - Salomé Skvirsky, Tyler Williams, and Jennifer Wild

Monday, November 1, 2021 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Rochona Majumdar

  Photo Credit: Jean Lachat        

Rochona Majumdar discusses Art Cinema and India's Forgotten Futures: Film and History in the Postcolony. She will be in joined in conversation by Salomé Skvirsky, Tyler Williams, and Jennifer Wild. The conversation will be moderated by Lisa Wedeen.

Presented in partnership with The Chicago Center for Contemporary TheoryCenter for the Study of Race, Politics, & Culture at the University of Chicago, The Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, and Columbia University Press

Register HERE

This is a hybrid event, and registration via the link above is required for both in-person and virtual participation. The in-person event will be held at the University of Chicago, Social Science Research Building, Tea Room (2nd floor).

About the book: The project of Indian art cinema began in the years following independence in 1947, at once evoking the global reach of the term "art film" and speaking to the aspirations of the new nation-state. In this pioneering book, Rochona Majumdar examines key works of Indian art cinema to demonstrate how film emerged as a mode of doing history and that, in so doing, it anticipated some of the most influential insights of postcolonial thought.

Majumdar details how filmmakers as well as a host of film societies and publications sought to foster a new cinematic culture for the new nation, fueled by enthusiasm for a future of progress and development. Good films would help make good citizens: art cinema would not only earn global prestige but also shape discerning individuals capable of exercising aesthetic and political judgment. During the 1960s, however, Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, and Ritwik Ghatak--the leading figures of Indian art cinema--became disillusioned with the belief that film was integral to national development. Instead, Majumdar contends, their works captured the unresolvable contradictions of the postcolonial present, which pointed toward possible, yet unrealized futures.

Analyzing the films of Ray, Sen, and Ghatak, and working through previously unexplored archives of film society publications, Majumdar offers a radical reinterpretation of Indian film history. Art Cinema and India's Forgotten Futures offers sweeping new insights into film's relationship with the postcolonial condition and its role in decolonial imaginations of the future.

About the author: Rochona Majumdar is Associate Professor of South Asian Languages and Civilizations & Cinema and Media Studies, as well as a 3CT fellow, at the University of Chicago. She is a historian of modern India whose interests span histories of Indian cinema, gender and marriage in colonial India, and Indian intellectual thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She also writes regularly on postcolonial theory and historiography and on the intellectual history of key concepts in colonial Bengal during nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Event Location: 
Social Science Research Building, Tea Room (2nd Floor)
1126 E. 59th St.
Chicago, IL 60637