Address: 317 Knox
Mail to 401 Knox Hall
Tel: (212) 851-2889
Office Hours : By Appointment Only
Debashree Mukherjee

Affiliations: Center for Comparative Media; Film & Media Program, School of the Arts; Institute for Research on Women, Gender, & Sexuality (IRWGS)

Debashree Mukherjee is a film historian and media theorist working across the fields of production studies, new materialisms, feminist film historiography, postcolonial studies, and South Asian studies. Her current book project, Bombay Hustle: Making Movies in a Colonial City (forthcoming with Columbia University Press), presents a practice-oriented history of the consolidation of the Bombay film industry in the 1930s. The book investigates the material relations between cinema’s bodies, machines, aesthetics, and environments as they intersect with practices of modernity and freedom in late colonial India.

Professor Mukherjee has published in various academic journals and anthologies with a sustained interest in cities, labor, gender, and media. Trained as a filmmaker, she worked in Bombay’s film and television industries from 2004-2007 on projects such as Omkara (dir. Vishal Bhardwaj, 2006). During this period she was also engaged in an ethnographic research project on cultures of contemporary film production initiated by Sarai-Center for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi. Since 2015, Professor Mukherjee is a core editor with the peer-reviewed journal, BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies.

Committed to making academic research more accessible to the public, Professor Mukherjee has curated exhibitions such as Maya Mahal: An Enchanted Look at Hindi Cinema (Kolkata, 2013), and A Cinematic Imagination: Josef Wirsching and the Bombay Talkies (Serendipity Arts Festival, Goa, 2017), and is actively involved with the online film archive and annotation platform www.indiancine.ma.

In Spring 2020, Dr. Mukherjee will be a research fellow at The Institute for Ideas & Imagination, Paris, where she will begin work on a new project titled, “Mediated Ocean: A Techno-Aesthetic View of Migration Between Africa and Asia.”


Honors include fellowships from the Charles Wallace India Trust, the American Institute for Indian Studies, NYU’s Corrigan, Mainzer and Andrew Sauter grants, Public Voices fellowship, and Columbia’s Lenfest, Global Humanities, and Provost’s Junior Faculty Diversity grants.



Media Materialisms; Cinemas of India; Visual Cultures of Modern South Asia; Cinematic Cities | Comparative Modernities; Cinema and Colonialism



Ph.D in Cinema Studies, New York University (2015); M.Phil in Cinema Studies, School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University (2009); M.A in Mass Communication, Jamia Millia Islamia University (2004).



Select Publications

(available to view on https://columbia.academia.edu/DebashreeMukherjee)


Forthcoming. ‘A Specter Haunts Bombay:

Censored Itineraries of the Lost “Communistic” Film Mill (1934),’ Film History, 31(4).


Forthcoming. ‘Archival Conjugations: A Queer Trace of Love and Loss in Bombay Cinema,’ in R Mazumdar and N Majumdar (eds.) A Companion to Indian Cinema, Wiley-Blackwell Publications.

2018. ‘A Cinematic Imagination: Josef Wirsching and the Bombay Talkies,’ in N Jaishankar & A Adhikari (eds.) Projects/Processes, Volume I, Serendipity Arts Foundation.

2016. ‘Tracking Film Utopias: Technology, Labor, and Secularism in Bombay Cinema (1930s-1940s),’ in A Rao and A Rajagopal (eds.) Media/Utopia: Imagination, History, Technology, Routledge – Critical Interventions in Theory and Practice.

2016. ‘Scandalous Evidence: Looking for the Bombay Film Actress in an Absent Archive (1930s-1940s),’ in C Gledhill & J Knight (eds.) Doing Women’s Film History: Reframing Cinema’s Past and Future, University of Illinois Press.

2014. Filmi Jagat, A Scrapbook: Shared Universe of Early Hindi Cinema. With K Bhaumik and R Allana. New Delhi: Art Heritage & Niyogi Books.

2013. ‘Creating Cinema’s Reading Publics: The Emergence of Film Journalism in 1930s and 1940s Bombay,’ in R Sundaram (ed.) No Limits: Media Studies from India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 165-198.

2013. ‘Notes on a Scandal: Writing Women’s Film History Against an Absent Archive,’ BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies, 4(1), pp. 9-30.

2013. ‘Out of Sight: Archiving Hidden Histories of Film Practice,’ Art Connect, 7(1), pp. 42-59.

2011. ‘Letter from an Unknown Woman: The Film Actress in Late Colonial Bombay,’ in N Dinkar (ed.) Framing Women: Gender in the Colonial Archive, MARG Special issue, 62(4), pp. 54-65.

2010. ‘A Material World: Notes on an Interview with Ram Tipnis,’ BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies, 1(2), pp. 199-205. Peer-reviewed.

2009. ‘Good Girls, Bad Girls,’ Circuits of Cinema, Seminar special issue, 598, pp. 21-27.

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