Q&A With Dr. Meheli Sen

14 Jul

We are happy to present to you a Q&A with Dr. Meheli Sen who will be teaching for the FVS program in the 2010/2011 school year.  She comes to us from DePaul University where she has been teaching Media and Cinema Studies since 2008.  This fall she will be teaching FVS 1013 Intro to Film, FVS 2033 Writing About Film and 3833.900 Global Horror Films.

1.What are your thoughts about moving to Oklahoma?

I’ve never actually been to Oklahoma, so I’m very excited. And there appears to be a great deal of disagreement about whether OK is the South or the South West. Opinions vacillate wildly, depending on whom you speak with! So, I’m looking forward to discovering its allegiances to regional cultures; I consider myself somewhat Southern. I’m also looking forward to some excellent steak!

2.Where have you taught prior to teaching for FVS?

I have taught as a graduate student at Emory University for several years and then as the Dean’s Teaching Fellow. I’ve taught as Assistant Professor in DePaul University’s Media and Cinema Studies track from 2008-20010.

3.Where did you go to school, and what did you receive your degrees in?

I studied at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, for my undergraduate and masters degrees. My undergrad major was Comparative Literature with a minor in Film Studies. I completed my M.A. in Film Studies in 1999. Alongside the M.A., I also completed a graduate diploma in Mass Communications. I received my Ph.D. from Emory University’s Institute of the Liberal Arts with a certificate in Film Studies.

4.Why did you choose to study and teach film?

At some point during my undergrad years I discovered that I enjoyed engaging with images more than written texts. And since I already studied film as a minor, the transition seemed natural. However, my basic training in literature and textual analysis remain very much a part of how I relate to the cinema.

5.What other interests, both academic and recreational, do you have?

I’m a food-fanatic. I love cooking for crowds and eating! I also love traveling when my income allows it! I also enjoy gardening, plants and trees. Would love to have a dog someday.

6.Tell us a little about your research and what you are currently working on.

My primary research area is post-independence popular Hindi cinema, commonly referred to as ‘Bollywood’. I am especially interested in how the filmic registers of genre, gender and sexuality resonate with and negotiate specific moments in India’s troubled encounters with modernity and more recently, globalization. My work draws on my interdisciplinary training using theoretical and methodological tools offered by history, postcolonial theory, gender studies and queer theory.

Currently I am working on two book-length manuscripts and a few articles. The first book is a re-working of my Ph.D. dissertation, titled Discontented Modernities: Gender, Genre and Nation in Post-Independence Hindi Cinema. My second book is tentatively titled Bawdy Bollywood: Theorizing Hindi Horror Cinema and explores the rarely studied horror genre in Bombay cinema.

Beyond these, I am also working on several articles, including one on cinematic uses of the railways and another on the Bollywood ‘Bromance’ film.

7.What is your favorite course to teach?

Hmmm. This is a tough one because I’ve never really disliked anything I’ve taught. But if I had to pick a few, I’d say Intro to Bollywood, Global Horror and Gender/Genre in Hollywood cinema. In no particular order.

8.What do you look forward to most in regard to teaching for FVS?

I’m really looking forward to working with a new student body. I’ve heard excellent things about FVS students.

9.What are your favorite movies?

This one’s a killer! Again, in no particular order a few would include: Aparajito (1956), La Ronde (1950) October (1928), Pyaasa (1957), Mon Oncle (1958), The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), Out of the Past (1947), Through the Olive Trees (1994), The Old Dark House (1932), Audition (1999), Late Spring (1949), Underground (1995)…

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