Usha Iyer


Indian Cinema and the Caribbean: Media in the Wake of Enslavement and Indenture

Thursday, October 10, 2024



Abolition and Pedagogy

Friday, October 11, 2024
University Club Room 212

*Please contact for required readings and reading notes.

Lecture Abstract:

Indian Cinema and the Caribbean: Media in the Wake of Enslavement and Indenture

In this talk, Professor Usha Iyer draws from their book project, Jammin’: Black and Brown Media Intimacies between India and the Caribbean, which studies the traffic of cultural forms between these regions in relation to discourses of race, gender, and sexuality that have developed around the histories of African enslavement and Indian indentureship in the Caribbean. The talk will map the movement of migrant media – media that migrate as well as migrants’ use of media – elucidating, in particular, creole media that make visible Indian cinema’s entanglements with Afro-Caribbean cultural production, and jahaji media, animated by relations between Indian and Indo-Caribbean identities. This study of racial intimacies and frictions across national and diasporic contexts engages with the utopian imaginations and horizons fostered by abolition.


Workshop Abstract:

Abolition and Pedagogy

In The Undercommons, Fred Moten and Stefano Harney ask, “What is the object of abolition? Not so much the abolition of prisons but the abolition of a society that could have prisons, that could have slavery, that could have the wage, and therefore not abolition as the elimination of anything but abolition as the founding of a new society.” In this interactive workshop, we will discuss what kinds of pedagogical visions and practices might be generative for the founding of a new society and the re-envisioning of the university within it. We will examine the relationships of capital, white supremacy, and the academy, and consider how a reparative, abolitionist pedagogy can diagnose the relationship between epistemic violence and state violence, and generate strategies to foster radical, decolonial, global pedagogical imaginations.



Usha Iyer is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University. Their research and teaching examine film and media cultures in relation to gender, sexuality, race, and caste. Their book, Dancing Women: Choreographing Corporeal Histories of Hindi Cinema (Oxford University Press, 2020), awarded the 2022 British Association of South Asian Studies book prize, is a study of women’s labor and collaboration. Their current book project, Jammin’: Black and Brown Media Intimacies between India and the Caribbean, studies the affective engagements of Caribbean spectators with Indian cinema and the impact of Caribbean performance cultures on Indian film industries. They are co-editing the volume, Shift Focus: Reframing the Indian New Waves, with Manishita Dass.