Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
aas masthead
Sharmila Rudrappa, Director BUR 556, Mailcode A2200, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-9468

Madhavi Mallapragada

Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison



Madhavi Mallapragada is assistant professor in the Department of Radio-Television-Film, the College of Communication, at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also a faculty affiliate of UT’s Center for Asian American Studies (CAAS), South Asia Institute (SAI) and the Department of Asian Studies.

Dr. Mallapragada’s research and teaching interests lie at the intersections of new media studies, Asian American studies and transnational cultural studies. In particular, she is interested in the online articulations of racialized, brown, and transnational cultural identities within a South Asian American context. She is currently working on a book manuscript that examines the role and politics of the Web in recasting notions of Indian-American identity and cultural citizenship since the late 1990s. Her work has been published in the journals New Media and Society, South Asian Popular Culture, Popular Communication and edited anthologies Web.studies: Rewiring New Media for the Digital Age (2000), Critical Cyberculture Studies: Current Terrains, Future Directions (2006) and Re-Orienting Global Communication: Indian and Chinese Media Beyond Borders (2010).

Dr. Mallapragada’s courses at the undergraduate level include two-upper level writing-intensive courses RTF 331 Internet Cultures and RTF 359 Asian American Media Cultures (cross-listed with Asian American studies). At the graduate level, she teaches RTF 393P New Media Technologies and Cultures (cross-listed with the School of Information) and RTF 387CMedia and Diaspora (cross-listed with Asian Studies).

Courses Taught:

  • AAS 320/ RTF 359: Asian Americans and Media
  • AAS 320/ RTF 359: Asian American Media Cultures -W


online articulations of racialized, brown, and transnational cultural identities within a South Asian American contex

AAS 320 • Asian American Media Cultures

36260 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 100pm-200pm CMA 3.114
show description

Flag: Cultural Diversity in the U.S.

This course will examine diverse representations of Asian Americans in the US media by focusing on popular film, television, videogames and the World Wide Web. It will critically interrogate stereotypical images of Asian American identities, culture, and politics as well as representations that challenge and contest such stereotypes. In doing so, the course will locate the politics of representing Asian Americans in the US media within a broader historical, political and cultural context that includes issues of immigration, nationalism and citizenship, race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality and transnationalism.

AAS 320 • Asian Amer Media Cultures-W

36005 • Fall 2009
Meets MWF 1000-1100 CMA A3.120
(also listed as RTF 359 )
show description

AAS 320/ RTF 359 :: Asian Americans and Media

Course Description:

This course will examine popular and critical roles, representations and politics of Asian Americans in U.S. media including Hollywood cinema, U.S. network television, Asian American independent film, and the World Wide Web. It will interrogate the racial and cultural politics of early Hollywood film stereotypes such as Dragon Lady, M. Butterfly, Charlie Chan and Fu Manchu; situate the role of media in shaping discourses of Orientalism, Yellow Peril and the “model minority” in mainstream America; engage with cutting-edge documentaries such as Who Killed Vincent Chin? from the independent Asian American media arts movement; examine the institutional and cultural politics of Margaret Cho’s short-lived but groundbreaking TV sitcom All-American Girl, and explore why Apu, a fictional character from The Simpsons remains the most popular representation of a South Asian American on US television!

 By critically interrogating stereotypical representations of Asian American identities, culture, and politics, we will understand the complex history and culture that these stereotypes seek to displace. By engaging with independent Asian American media, we will locate their politics not merely as a response to mainstream media but a representation of a complex and vibrant Asian American sensibility, media aesthetic and community politics. In the process of doing so, we will explore how issues of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, nationalism, transnationalism and citizenship are central to understanding the politics of Asian Americans and U.S. media.

Required Screenings:
Excluding the following Thursdays, 8/28, (first week) 11/27 (Thanksgiving Holiday) and 12/4 (last week) there will be weekly screenings on every Thursday of the semester from 7:00-9:30 p.m. (Most, though not all, screenings will be between 1-2 hrs.). Screenings will he held in CMA 3.120 and will start at 7p.m sharp. So please arrive in time. Although attendance will not be taken at the screenings, your attendance is REQUIRED, both in terms of fulfilling course expectations and considering screenings as course study and quiz, exam material.

Attendance & Class Participation            10%
In-class Quizzes                                   10%                   
Group project &
Presentation                                        10%
Research Paper                                    20%
Exam 1                                               25%
Exam 2                                               25%

Class Schedule
All readings should be completed prior to the class period under which they are listed.

Date        Topics, readings and assignments

Week 1    Introduction
Wed 8/27    Course Overview
Thu 8/28    No Screening
 Fri 8/29    Hagedorn, Go Geisha: Asian Women in Film

Week 2    Cinematic Asian Representations
Mon 9/1    No Class; Labor Day Holiday
Wed 9/3    Xing, Cinematic Asian Representations, pp. 53-64
Thu 9/4    The Slanted Screen (2006)
Fri 9/5        Xing, Cinematic Asian Representations, pp. 64-81

Week 3    Historical and Social Contexts: An Overview
Mon 9/8    Zia, Surrogate Slaves to American Dreamers
Wed 9/10    Takaki, One-Tenth of the Nation: Asian Americans in the 21st Century
Thu 9/11    My America or Honk… if You Love Buddha (1997)
Fri 9/12    A General Timeline of the Asian American Experience

Week 4    Screening Asian Americans: Critical and Theoretical Frameworks
Mon 9/15    Feng, Introduction
Wed 9/17    Tajima, Moving the Image: Asian American Independent Filmmaking…pp 10-22
Thu 9/18    The Cheat (1915)
Fri 9/19    Tajima, Moving the Image, pp 22-33

Week 5    Racialized Anxieties and Strategies of Containment
Mon 9/22    Marchetti, The Rape Fantasy: The Cheat
Wed 9/24    Wong, The Early Years: Asians in the American Films Prior to World War II
Thu 9/25    Shanghai Express (1932)
Fri 9/26    Chan, Charlie Chan: A Model Minority Man (excerpts)

Week 6    Race, Gender and Romance
Mon 9/29    Marchetti, The Threat of Captivity: The Bitter Tea of General Yen and Shanghai Express
Wed 10/1    Chung, Between Yellowphilia and Yellowphobia
Thu 10/2    Sayonara (1957)
Fri 10/3    Marchetti, White Knights in Hong Kong… The World of Suzie Wong

Week 7    Cold War Politics and Early Television
Mon 10/6    Lee, The Cold War Origins of the Model Minority Myth
Wed 10/8    Hamamoto, Asians in the American West
Thu 10/9    Enter the Dragon (1973)
Fri 10/10    Exam Review

Week 8    Configuring Bruce Lee
Mon 10/13    EXAM 1
Wed 10/15    Lee, Bruce Lee: A Sexualized Object of Desire
Thu 10/16    Chan is Missing (1981)
Fri 10/17    Ongiri, Bruce Lee in the Ghetto Connection: Kung Fu Theater… at the Margins

Week 9    Moving the (Asian American) Image
Mon 10/20    Feng, Becoming Asian American: Chan is Missing
Wed 10/22    Marchetti, The Wedding Banquet: Global Chinese Cinema…Asian American Experience
Thu 10/23    Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1988)
Fri 10/24    Xing, Hybrid Cinema by Asian American Women

Week 10    Orientalism and Racism
Mon 10/27    Nichols, Historical Consciousness and the Viewer: Who killed Vincent Chin?
Wed 10/29    Kim, Serving American Orientalism: …The Courtship of Eddie’s Father
Thu 10/30    All- American Girl (1994)
Fri 10/31    Group 1 Presentations

Week 11    Television Cultures
Mon 11/3    Kim, Be the One That You Want: Asian Americans in Television…and Beyond
Wed 11/5     Locke, Here Comes the Judge: The Dancing Itos and…the Enemy Asian Male
Thu 11/6    Robot Stories (2003)
Fri 11/7     Group 2 Presentations

Week 12    Race, Cybertypes and Science Fiction Narratives
Mon 11/10    Nakamura, Race in the Construct and the Construction of Race   
Wed 11/12    Nishime, Guilty Pleasures: Keanu Reeves, Superman and Racial Outing
Thu 11/13    Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)
Fri 11/14    Group 3 Presentations

Week 13    Complexities of Visibility and Visuality
Mon 11/17    Oren, Secret Asian Man: Angry Asians…Visibility; RESEARCH PAPERS DUE
Wed 11/19    Nakamura, “Alllooksame”? Mediating Asian American Visual Cultures of Race on the Web
Thu 11/20    American Desi (2001)
Fri 11/21    Group 4 Presentations

Week 14    Representing South Asian Americans
Mon 11/24    Desai, Planet Bollywood: Indian Cinema Abroad
Wed 11/26    Davé, Apu’s Brown Voice: Cultural Inflection and South Asian Accents
Thu 11/27    No Screening; Thanksgiving Holiday
Fri 11/28    No Class; Thanksgiving Holiday

Week 15    Conclusion
Mon 12/1    Group 5 Presentations
Wed 12/3    Exam Review
Thu 12/4    No Screening
Fri 12/5    Exam 2



Dr. Mallapragada is completing  “Web Technologies, Network Societies and Emergent Indian-American Alliances.” in Re-Orienting Global Communication: Indian and Chinese Media Beyond Borders, edited by Michael Curtin and Hemant Shah and Home, Homeland, Homepage: Indian-American Networks in the Digital Age, forthcoming.

  • “An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Study of Cybercultures.” In Critical Cyberculture Studies: Current Terrains, Future Directions, edited by David Silver and Adrienne Massanari. (New York: New York University Press, 2006), pp. 194-204.
  • “The Indian Diaspora in the USA and around the Web.” In Web.studies: Rewiring Media Studies for the Digital Age, edited by David Gauntlett. (London: Arnold & OUP, 2000), pp. 179-185.
bottom border