This essay mobilizes decolonial theory and praxis, in dialog with other related approaches, to propose the framework of a pedagogy of reparations that aims to bear witness to and address the epistemic violence enacted by the hegemonic Euro-American film and media studies canon and curriculum. Spanning conceptual interrogations of the relationships of capital, white supremacy, and the academy, as well as pedagogical and administrative decisions around course offerings, breadth requirements, selection of “foundational” texts, design of theory and methods courses, the essay calls for a collaborative discussion of strategies for repair that may foster the possibility of a genuinely intersectional, decolonial, global imagination for film and media studies. A reparative pedagogy recognizes the relationship between epistemic violence and state violence, and embraces proliferation, relationality, and mutability as key strategies to keep our curricula from being re-colonized into the logics of canon- and empire-building.
A Pedagogy of Reparations: Notes toward Repairing the Film and Media Studies Curriculum
Usha Iyer is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University. Their book, Dancing Women: Choreographing Corporeal Histories of Hindi Cinema (Oxford University Press, 2020), examines constructions of gender, stardom, and sexuality in Indian cinema with a focus on women’s labor and collaborative networks. Their next project is a study of the traffic of cultural forms between South Asia and the Caribbean, engaging with transnational perspectives on race, ethnicity, and migration. Dr. Iyer is Associate Editor of the journal, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies.
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Usha Iyer; A Pedagogy of Reparations: Notes toward Repairing the Film and Media Studies Curriculum. Feminist Media Histories 1 January 2022; 8 (1): 181–193. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2022.8.1.181
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