Through the Blue Kaleidoscope—Cinema, Caste, and All that the Screen Does Not Show

Dr. Mahitosh Mandal's picture
Call for Publications
December 15, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Ethnic History / Studies, Film and Film History, Human Rights, Journalism and Media Studies


​Through the Blue Kaleidoscope—Cinema, Caste, and All that the Screen Does Not Show

We are pleased to announce the first special issue of All About Ambedkar: A Journal on Theory and Praxis (e-ISSN 2582-9785). The Special Issue will be on Through the Blue Kaleidoscope—Cinema, Caste, and All that the Screen Does Not Show. It will be edited by Arijeet Mandal, Assistant Professor of Film Studies, Jadavpur University, India.

Concept Note:

​Cinema came into being in the early part of the previous century. It owes much of its rise to technological and commercial expansion by several capitalist powers. However, this does not mean that cinema “in-itself” is capitalist. We have seen brilliant uses of cinema against capitalist ideologies and bourgeoisie aesthetics. We have also witnessed filmmakers and audiences penalized, censored, ostracized and even killed for using cinema as a political tool rather than an entertainment medium. It thus makes much sense to argue that in class society, one class can afford to be placated by images, while the other classes have an injunction on them to ‘show’ the truth of their lives. This does not mean that anti-capitalist films and filmmaking cannot be beautiful, but that the aesthetics of hunger, rebellion, and resilience need a different theoretical model than mainstream narrative cinema.

Similarly, we can see that there is a tendency in Indian cinema to primarily cater for filmmakers and audiences from dominant castes. Things seem to have changed in the last few decades with smaller circles of distributions, availability of regional cinema, a greater number of filmmakers, and a few movements powerful enough to make the mainstream industry attempt to deal with the caste question. Here again, it seems, some castes can afford to see cinema just as a medium for pleasure and other castes cannot afford that luxury. We also have seen censorship, ostracism, silencing, and severe repression of filmmakers, crews, actors, and even the audience suffering from having wanted something more than entertainment. We have also seen that Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, women, LGBTQIA+, the disabled and other minorities are represented in a stereotypical and derogative manner by the film industry run by the dominant castes. Therefore, we must pose the right questions regarding the future of Indian cinema in particular and (Asian and diasporic) cinema in general.

We welcome original abstracts on the following and related topics.


  • Representation of caste in cinema (not to be confused with the representation of individuals)

  • Language of Cinema and Dalit experience

  • Viewership practices, regional distributions and role of caste

  • Filmmakers, Editors, Sound-Engineers, Filmmaking crew and caste

  • New attempts in Cinema and Caste

  • History, Caste, and Cinema

  • Film philosophy and Caste system

  • Interviews, Excerpts, Archival notes related to caste experience and cinema

  • Theorising DBA (Dalit, Bahujan, Adivasi) cinema

  • Debrahminizing Film and Media Studies

  • Conceptualizing DBA filmography, film theory and film criticism

Information and deadlines for submissions:

​Note 1: We are seeking original abstracts/ papers which are analytical and well researched. Mere summaries with no analytical credibility will be rejected.

​Note 2: The final acceptance of papers is subject to successful peer-review.

​Note 3: Do not submit full papers now. Submit only abstracts and bionotes as two separate MS Word files by 15 December 2021.​

  • Abstract (with a title & four keywords): 350-450 words

  • Bionote: 50-100 words (mention designation, affiliation, research interests and publication, if applicable)

  • Email your submissions at

  • Please mention the following in the subject line of your email: <<Special Issue: Caste and Cinema>>

  • Deadline for Abstract Submission: 15 December 2021

  • Notification of Acceptance of Abstract: 15 January 2022

  • Deadline for Submission of Full Papers: 1 March 2022

  • Word limit of Full Papers: 5000-7000 words (upper limit of word count is flexible)

  • Style of Citation: MLA (8th edition)

  • Publication of the Special Issue: (tentatively) April 2022

Contact Info: 

All About Ambedkar: A Journal on Theory and Praxis