Research

My research addresses the impact of globalization on the operations of the media industries as well as audience reception and participation in South Asia and the South Asian-American diaspora.

In relation to these broad concerns, I pursue two inter-related areas of research. My current research projects examine the relationship between popular culture and the political in India. Through case studies of media events that intersected with and at times, re-configured the political, I examine new modes of cultural and political expression that have emerged in a context marked on the one hand by processes of media convergence (digital media and television in particular), and on the other hand, by audience participation facilitated by mobile and digital media technologies and platforms. I am developing this research through an SSRC-funded collaborative project on “Media, Activism, and the New Political: Inter-Asian Perspectives.” This research forms the basis for the book I am now working on, provisionally titled Mobile Publics: Popular Culture and the Political in Digital India. I am keen to work with graduate students with interests in digital and mobile cultures, everyday life, and political culture in varied regions around the world (particularly South Asia and the Middle East North Africa region).

A second line of research involves an examination of the logics, discourses, and operations of the media industries. With India and the US as the primary sites of research, I take an ethnographic approach and examine the economic, technological, political, and cultural factors that shape developments in the film, television, and digital media industries. My book, From Bombay to Bollywood: The Making of a Global Media Industry (NYU Press, 2013), edited collections (Global Bollywood, NYU Press, 2008; Television at Large in South Asia, 2013, and other articles and book chapters address this topic. I am extending this line of research to explore the 1980s as a formative period for television’s emergence as a major technological and cultural form in India. In addition, I am co-authoring a book (with Shanti Kumar) on the Indian television industry (for Palgrave-Macmillan). I am eager to work with graduate students with interests in media history in the South Asian and South Asian diasporic contexts.