Past Workshops
New Media and the Global South

New Media and Mass/Popular Culture in the Global South

Coordinators: Matthew H. Brown (African Languages & Literature), Victor Goldgel-Carballo (Spanish & Portuguese), Paola Hernandez (Spanish & Portuguese), Darien Lamen (Music), Viren Murthy (History), John Nimis (African Languages & Literature), Fernanda Villarroel (Cultural Anthropology)


Forms of mass popular culture shape the daily lives of the majority of the world’s citizens. Television, popular music, video and film, and the Internet are powerful forces of cultural cohesion, sources of local narratives of identity, subjectivity, and community, and enable connections across national boundaries and between continents. This research group will focus on the many cultural forms that are produced in parts of the world that are often considered “peripheral” in dominant narratives of globalization and post-modernity, and the ways they imagine themselves as part of a larger global community and political economy, especially through modern technological platforms.


Key questions include these: How do various cultures in the global south conceptualize, speak to, and speak about the “world”? How do historical differences in political and economic structures lead groups to use media differently? How do historical similarities produce affinities? How does circulation, especially direct south-south connections that leave the putative global “centers” in the North out of the conversation, influence different cultures? How is new media used to dispel the idea that they are passive recipients of cultural imperialism emanating from the Global North? How are concepts such as “media,” “the new,” or “popular” conceived in the Global South?


Some readings will be password protected. Email an organizer for the password. You may need the newest version of Adobe Reader to view them (download the newest version here). Note that some browsers will allow you to open the pdf in a new window, others will require you to download the file.



Bob White, University of Montreal, Anthropology

"Education and Entertainment in the Global South:  Bringing the Sabido Methodology to Congo"

Friday, April 4, 2014 @ 10am
Helen C. White, rm. 7191



Christopher Dunn, Tulane University
Fellow, Brazilian Studies Initiative, UW-Madison

"Black Rio: The Brazilian Soul Movement of the 1970s"

Monday, March 24, 2014 @ 3:30pm
University Club, room 313




Global Grit film series

Join us for the Global Grit" film series every Wednesday in February. The series will culminate in a film symposium on March 6.

All films will be held at 7:00 pm at the Marquee Theater, Union South, 1308 West Dayton Street

February 5: Karmen Gei (Senegal, 2001)

February 12: Trouble the Water (US, 2008)

Feb 19: Fuego (Argentina, 1969)

Feb 26: Cairo Station (Egypt, 1958)

March 5: Viva Riva! (Congo, 2010)

"Trash, Slums, and Exploitation: Grit in the Global South"

Film Symposium

Kenneth Harrow, Michigan State University
Victoria Ruetalo, University of Alberta
Megha Anwer, Purdue University

Thursday, March 6, 2014 @ 4pm
Memorial Library Commons (2nd floor)

This symposium will bring together scholars of film specializing in Africa, Latin America, and South Asia.  We will look comparatively at "gritty" aesthetics and genres from each of these regions, and discuss the aesthetic possibilities and impossibilities, the cultural and socio-political conditions that enable or stifle them, and work towards a theory of "Global Grit."


Sahar El Mougy and Liam Stack

Seminar meeting

Thursday, November 14, 2013 @ 4:00 PM
University Club, room 313

Our November event will be a kind of mini-seminar, where we will discuss two readings in preparation for the spring semester's visitors and the intellectual questions they will address.



Roundtable discussion: "Literature, Popular Culture, and Social Change in the Middle East"

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 @ 3:30 pm
313 University Club (432 East Campus Mall)

The Center for the Humanities Mellon Workshop on "New Media and Mass/Popular Culture in the Global South" is proud to sponsor a round table event, featuring two exciting guests, Liam Stack and Sahar El Mougy.

Liam Stack is the editor of Watching Syria's War, a New York Times multimedia project that tracks the conflict in Syria through reporting, social media and citizen video. He covered the Egyptian revolution and the revolutions in Syria and Libya for The New York Times, and is a former correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and The Daily News Egypt. You can follow Liam on Twitter at @liamstack.

Sahar Elmougy is an Egyptian writer and assistant professor of American literature at Cairo University. She is also a columnist, creative writing trainer, storyteller and feminist activist. She has published two collections of short stories and two novels, Daria (1999) and Noon (2007), for which she has won Arab and Mediterranean literary prizes.

Our guests will present their perspectives on the role of culture and media in recent events in Egypt and elsewhere in the middle east, followed by questions and discussion.


Brian Larkin, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College, Columbia University

Public talk: "State aesthetics: Nollywood, 419, and the forms of corruption"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 @ 12:00pm
206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr
Co-sponsored by African Studies Program


Brian Larkin, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College, Columbia University


Wednesday, September 25, 2013 @ 4:00pm
313 University Club, 432 East Campus Mall

Readings for Workshop:

For passwords for readings and/or more information, please contact John Nimis (



NB: the final Global South events of the academic year are both on TUESDAYS, not our usual Friday time.


Intersecting Parallels - a roundtable featuring

  • Moradewun Adejunmobi (University of California, Davis)

  • Idelber Avelar (Tulane University) and

  • Anustup Basu (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @  4:00pm
6191 Helen C White

A roundtable with three guests from off-campus, specialists of three different regions (Africa, South Asia, South America). 


For passwords for readings and/or more information, please contact John Nimis (


Christian Uhl

"Time and Translation"

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 @ 4:00pm
University Club 212
We are co-sponsoring a talk by Christian Uhl  to which we will be inviting the Mellon Workshops on Translation and on World Literature(s).  More information to come.


Tejaswini Ganti, Associate Professor of Anthropology, New York University

Workshop:  "Rethinking Global Film History Through the Unexpected Peregrinations of Hindi Cinema"

Friday, March 15, 2013 @ 3:00pm
University Club 212
Screening: "Ek Tha Tiger"
6 PM on Thursday, March 14 at the Marquee Theater in conjunction with her visit.
Please click links below for the workshop readings:

For passwords for readings and/or more information, please contact John Nimis (


Marissa Moorman,  Associate Professor of History, Indiana University

"Radio Remediated: La Vie Sur Terre and Moolade (Take one)"
Friday, February 22, 2013 @ 3:30-5:30pm
313 University Club
Frantz Fanon (1965),  "This is the Voice of Algeria" from A Dying Colonialism 
John Mowitt (2011),  "Stations of Exception" from Radio: Essays in Bad Reception

For passwords for readings and/or more information, please contact John Nimis (


"Researching Everyday Media Cultures and Social Change in Africa: Towards a Demotic Turn" with Wendy Willems via Teleconference

Friday, December 7, 2012 @ 9:30am
B1144 Biochemistry Building (420 Henry Mall)

The Center for Humanities Mellon Workshop on "New Media and Mass/Popular Culture in the Global South" announces our fourth meeting, open to all members of the research community at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. We are excited to try a very new format, with a virtual "Open Seminar" from a lecture series in Sweden, followed by a live at-distance Q&A session.

We will hear Wendy Willems, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, speak about the history of media studies in Africa and new approaches to thinking about the use of media in everyday culture. Focusing on Zambia, she argues that mobile phones are both the product of a neoliberal turn and the ‘enabler’ of a demotic turn, which complicate extant theories of African media.

Willems first delivered this lecture at Malmö University in Sweden on May 31, 2012. We will watch a video recording of that lecture and then Willems will join us via video conference, from Johannesburg, for discussion.

Participants have the option of viewing the video version of Wendy Willems's seminar on their own, by following this link.


  • Julie Soleil Archambault "Breaking up 'because of the phone' and the transformative potential of information in Southern Mozambique"
  • Jenna Burrell, "Evaluating Shared Access: Social equality and the circulation of mobile phones in rural Uganda"

For passwords for readings and/or more information, please contact John Nimis (

The Center for the Humanities Workshops in the Interdisciplinary Humanities are sponsored by the A.W. Mellon Foundation. Workshop meetings are open to UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students. Larger events are open to the general public.


Sarah Ann Wells, Assistant Professor of Portuguese, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Notre Dame

"Remediating Labor in Contemporary Brazilian Cinema"

Friday, November 16, 2012 @ 3:30pm
313 University Club

Required readings:

Suggested readings

Readings are password protected.  Please email John Nimis for the password, and note that depending on your browser, you may have to save or download the file to open it.


Philip Lutgendorf

"Bollywood 101: Some Basics of Popular Hindi Cinema"

October 19 @ 3:30 pm
212 University Club

Philip Lutgendorf is Professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies and Co-Chair of the South Asian Studies Program (SASP) at the University of Iowa.  Click below to access the required readings for the workshop:

  1. "Is There an Indian Way of Filmmaking?" by Philip Lutgendorf
  2. "Introduction" to Bollywood: A guidebook to popular Hindi cinema by Tejaswini Ganti.

Readings are password protected.  Please email John Nimis for the password, and note that depending on your browser, you may have to save or download the file to open it.


Suggested Films

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1996)

  • Free screening: October 23 @ 7:00 PM, Marquee Theater, Union South

Pyaasa (1957)

Shree 420 (1955)


Inaugural Meeting of the New Media and Mass/Popular Culture in the Global South Workshop

September 21, 2012 @ 1:00pm
313 University Club 

Members of the research community are invited to participate in and help shape what will be an ongoing conversation. Our first meeting will take the form of a mini-symposium, kicked off by short presentations by members of the workshop organizing committee:

“Bombay-Kinshasa: Aesthetic Affinities Between Bollywood Cinema and Congolese Pop Music” John Nimis, African Languages and Literature

Estrellas: A Science of Poverty in the Global South” Victor Goldgel-Carballo, Spanish and Portuguese

“Mixed Media and The Market: Lagos through the eyes of Bruce Onobrakpeya, Nndide Dike and Olu Amoda” Fernanda Villarroel, Anthropology

“In the Medium Term: Some Notes on the Shifting Mediation of Nigerian Motion Pictures” Matthew H. Brown, African Languages and Literature

Required Readings:

1. Larkin, B. "Indian Films and Nigerian Lovers: Media and the Creation of Parallel Modernities." Africa (1997): 406-440.

2. Peters, B. "And Lead Us Not Into Thinking the New Is New: A Bibliographic Case for New Media History." New Media & Society 11, no. 1-2 (2009): 13-30.