Arizona State University Adds Bollywood and Indian Dance Courses to Curriculum

Written on 04/11/2024
Asia91 Team

In an innovative move to enhance cultural understanding, Arizona State University (ASU) is introducing courses on Bollywood cinema and traditional Indian dances as part of its Asian Pacific American Studies program. The new offerings aim to connect students more deeply with the rich traditions of South Asia and foster inclusivity on campus.


Arizona State University is taking significant steps toward cultural inclusivity with the launch of new courses focused on Bollywood films and Indian dance forms. 


These courses are designed to bridge cultural gaps and enrich the university's curriculum, reflecting ASU’s dedication to fostering a diverse educational environment. 


The classes will be integrated into the longstanding Asian Pacific American Studies program, which has been promoting intercultural understanding for over 25 years.


Starting next academic year, ASU students will have the opportunity to enroll in courses like "Bollywood Nation," taught by Professor Nilanjana Bhattacharjya, which will explore the global impact and cultural nuances of Bollywood cinema. 


Another course, led by Rinku Das, incoming professor and founder of Nrityajyoti Dance Academy, will delve into the intricate dance form Kathak, highlighting its roots in northern India and its evolution into a medium for storytelling and cultural expression.


These courses are part of a broader initiative by ASU to expand its curriculum related to South Asian culture, including contemporary Indian art and the region's diverse religious practices. Patrick Kennel, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, emphasized the importance of these courses in reaching more communities and enhancing the university's mission toward global inclusivity.


The new course offerings are not just academic pursuits but are also seen as a way to foster personal connections among students from different backgrounds. "By learning about the arts, traditions, and histories of other cultures, students can build bridges of understanding and cooperation," said Das. 


Bhattacharjya echoed this sentiment, aiming to challenge students' perceptions of Indian cinema and its portrayal in the media.


As ASU continues to broaden its academic horizon, these new courses promise to bring new perspectives to students, encouraging them to think critically about cultural diversity and its significance in today's global society.