Desiring Bollywood: Re-Staging Racism, Exploring Difference

Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In this article, I engage with the insights that emerged through the making of Desiring Bollywood, a collaborative ethno-fiction project I produced in 2018. The project recruited academics, amateur actors, novice filmmakers, and enthusiastic university students to narrate the story of Jason, an aspiring actor and filmmaker from Nigeria who I first met in 2013, soon after his release from Tihar Prison in Delhi, India. My goals are two-fold: first, to share a few scenes from the film—embedded in this article as video clips—to broadly theorize the affordances and limits of what I call re-staging, the collaborative, performance-based multimodal method we devised and deployed to produce Desiring Bollywood. Second, and more central to the article, I aim to analyze these very same scenes to show how re-staging, as it offered participants involved in the project the opportunity to reflexively explore how Jason's experiences of discrimination in Delhi and the aspirations and desires that led him there in the first place, creates a rich site of analysis to engage with the nuances of anti-Black racism in India in a moment where “India–Africa” economic relationships are on the rise. [multimodality, collaboration, racism, migration, Africa, India, Nigeria].

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)961-972
    Number of pages12
    JournalAmerican Anthropologist
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Dec 2020

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anthropology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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