By Jigna Desai

About Jigna Desai

Jigna Desai is Professor in the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and the Program of Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota.  She is the author of Beyond Bollywood: The Cultural Politics of South Asian Diasporic Film (2004) and co-­editor of Bollywood: A Reader (2009), Transnational Feminism and Global Advocacy in South Asia (2012), and Asian Americans in Dixie: Race and Migration in the South (2013).


Asian American studies has long engaged with how films constitute and contribute to the formation of public cultures (zones of cultural debate). More specifically, scholars have turned to films to examine public culture as a “space between domestic life and the projects of the nation-state—where different social groups . . . constitute their identities by their experience of mass-mediated forms in relation to the practices of everyday life” (Appadurai and Breckenridge 1995, 4–5). Film is recognized as a significant institution for establishing and maintaining a racial order within the American nation and empire. Asian American cultural criticism elaborates upon the significance of film and the cinematic apparatus to the interrelated formations of race, nation, and citizenship. In addition to legal rights and political participation, Asian American claims to social belonging and cultural representation as components of citizenship have flourished since the Asian American and Third World movements. Hence understanding, interrogating, …

Pages ·