ENGB77: Cinema and Colonialism

ENGB77: Cinema and Colonialism, Winter 2024

Instructor: Prof. Rakesh Sengupta 


Course Description: It is more than a historical coincidence that cinema’s development over the twentieth century coincided with processes of imperial expansion as well as formal decolonization. ENGB77 will focus on the relationship between cinema and colonialism, by introducing students to important themes such as Orientalism, migration, extraction, modernization, and resistance. From the British Raj in India and the scramble for Africa to settler colonies in North America and Australia, colonialism is a multifaceted and enduring system of domination that needs site-specific analysis. We will study films from such different colonial and postcolonial contexts, such as Sanders of the River (1935), Memories of Underdevelopment (1968), The Chess Players (1977), We Are the Palestinian People (1973), Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993), Haider (2014), The Battle of Algiers (1966), in relation to relevant scholarship in the intersecting fields of film studies, postcolonial studies and cultural studies. In addition to understanding how films as cultural texts have historically reflected upon these themes, we will also explore how cinema as a storytelling and documentary medium has actively participated in historical and ongoing processes of colonialism and anti-colonialism.


Delivery: ENGB77 will be delivered in person.


Course Features: 

  • The lecture will be broken up in a way that allows time for discussion every class
  • For this course students will stream and watch videos (at home)
  • The assignments for this course include: weekly posts, a take-home exam or an exam with multiple choice questions, and group presentations

Learn more about Prof. Rakesh Sengupta's teaching and research, as well as how to contact him with any questions.