Education About Asia: Online Archives

A Geographic Understanding of South Asian Politics and Culture from the Film, Earth

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Themes identified and approved by educators and key American geography institutions as essential to geographic understanding for students of grades K-12 are those of location, region, place, movement, and humanenvironment interaction (Geography Education Standards Project, 1994). These fundamental concepts can be appreciated and reinforced while simultaneously exposing students in high school as well as at the undergraduate level in universities to a wealth of regionally specific content matter through the medium of popular film. Carefully selected feature films lend themselves to analysis of regional and topical issues in South Asia and are a good resource for introducing American students to this area of the world. Stereotypical images of South Asia that are widely prevalent in the West such as those of widespread poverty, the caste system, exoticism, and the subjugation of women are often buttressed by the visual media. But the same vehicle can be used to
present more nuanced views of the region and promote a better understanding of the socio-cultural, economic and political realities in South Asian countries through discussion of these issues.