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Staff profiles

Dr Ranita Chatterjee

Lecturer in Film Studies

5311

01392 725311

I am a Lecturer in Film and Television Studies. My research is interdisciplinary and intersects film history, theory and practice. My research interests include film history; twentieth century screen cultures; the cinemas of India; colonial film in the British Empire; creative industries and transnational film circulation. I am currently completing a book length manuscript entitled ‘Calcutta Chronicles: Film, City and the Transnational Journeys of early Indian Cinema.’ This book engages in a media-archaeological inquiry into early cinema history in India, from its arrival in the 1890s to the studio era in the 1930s, mapping the emergence of cinema in Calcutta, and the regional, national and transnational networks of film across colonial South Asia and in the Indian Ocean World. 

I also have extensive experience in the creative industries and media production through my first career as a director, producer and screenwriter in television and as a film curator. These myriad experiences inform my research and teaching.

I teach on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules in film history, theory and Industry including:

- Contemporary Film and Television Industries

- Television: Times, Trends and Technologies

- Interrogating Screens

- Shots in the Dark

- Transnational Cinemas

- World Cinema/World Literature (MA)

- Distribution and Markets (MAIFB)

 

I am open to supervising PhD projects in film history and theory (both written and practice PhDs) on any aspect of:

- Historical and contemporary Indian cinemas, including Bollywood and regional cinemas of India

- South Asian cinemas and popular culture

- World Cinema and transnational film cultures of production and/or circulation

- Creative industries

- Film history and media archives

 

Research interests

My research interests are interdisciplinary and include film history; twentieth century screen cultures; the cinemas of India; colonial film in the British Empire; creative industries and transnational film circulation. I am currently completing a book length manuscript entitled ‘Calcutta Chronicles: Film, City and the Transnational Journeys of early Indian Cinema.’ This book engages in a media-archaeological inquiry into early cinema history in India, from its arrival in the 1890s to the studio era in the 1930s, mapping the emergence of cinema in Calcutta, and the regional, national and transnational networks of film across colonial South Asia and in the Indian Ocean World. Drawing on a range of official archives and private collections, including rare studio records of Aurora Film Corporation, India’s oldest surviving film studio from the silent era, the study interrogates received film history in India by exploring a range of production and circulation practices, including the little known B-circuit and junk film circulation, and thereby challenging established paradigms of national cinema.

 

Before arriving at Exeter I held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the School of Media, Arts and Design, University of Westminster working on a project entitled,  'The Empire Looks Back: Early Film Cultures and Empire in Colonial India.' The project explored colonial screen cultures and British imperial propaganda through film in colonial India as well as the response by local filmmakers and exhibitors at the height of the nationalist movement. 

Research supervision

I am currently supervising one PhD dissertation on the South Asian Progressive Writers Association (1933-1978) exploring writers in India and Pakistan and their work across literature, film and radio. Forthcoming PhD student projects include one on Shakespeare adaptations in Hindi cinema (historical and contemporary) and another on women in Bombay cinema. 

 

I welcome PhD research projects on a range of areas in film and media history and theory (both written and practice PhDs) including:

- Contemporary and historical Indian cinema, including Bollywood and the regional cinemas of India

- South Asian cinemas and popular culture

- World Cinema and transnational film cultures of production and/or circulation

- Creative industries

- Film history and media archives

External impact and engagement

While I was completing my PhD I co-founded the India Media Centre at the University of Westminster, designed as a British hub for academic research in Indian film and media. As a founding member of the India Media Centre, I steered the Centre's research policy and organised several conferences, seminars, public lectures and screenings as well as hosted a number of prominent international scholars, filmmakers and creative artists. At Westminster I also taught several modules in film theory, art and media practice and in media studies at the world-leading centres, CREAM and CAMRI, in the School of Media, Arts and Design.

 

I also have extensive experience in the creative industries and media production through my first career as a director, producer and screenwriter. Much of my media career was spent at one of India's top television production houses, Television Eighteen India Ltd., at the height of the television boom in India where I created and produced numerous television programmes broadcast on a number of international and Indian television channels including BBC World, Sony, CNBC India, CNBC Asia, MTV, Star TV, Zee TV and the national channel, Doordarshan.

 

I have also curated for several international film and arts festivals as well as a productive stint at Sarai, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi - an innovative media research programme working at the intersection of old and new media research and praxis. At Sarai I was actively involved in bringing together local and international scholars, filmmakers, visual artists and new media practitioners working on open source platforms and fostering critical research, generating creative work, building an accessible archive and designing public outreach programmes. A key area of my work was to develop a film research culture in India at a time when very few film studies departments existed in the country. In this capacity I organised regular film screenings, seminars, masterclasses and intensive summer short courses with guest lectures by leading international film scholars.

 

Teaching

I teach on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate modules across the Film and English degrees including:

- EAF1507 Contemporary Film and Television Industries

- EAF2511 Television: Times, Trends and Technologies

- EAF1505 Transnational Cinemas

- EAF1506 Interrogating Screens

- EAF2502 Shots in the Dark

- EAF1504 Film History

- EAF2510 Adaptations

- EAFM167  MA World Cinema/World Literature

- EAFM200  MAIFB  Distribution and Markets

- EAFM202  MAIFB  Models of Innovation