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Rahul Mukherjee

Wolf Associate Professor of Television and New Media Studies; Associate Professor of English


Curriculum Vitae

Fisher-Bennett Hall 243

Office Hours

Tuesday: 10:30-11:30am and by appointment 

Rahul Mukherjee's academic preoccupations often meander into imaginings about media’s role with(in) alternative futures for/of politics and technology. He has been a fellow at the Center for the Humanities, Utrecht University and a pre-doctoral fellow of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center at University of California, Santa Barbara. During 2017-18, Rahul was at Cornell University's Society for the Humanities as the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future Fellow . Drawing on the conceptual lenses of cultural studies, media theory, and science studies, he has written on database management systems, advertising cultures of mobile telephony, Bollywood thrillers, chronic toxicity related to chemical disasters (Bhopal), development discourses, and translocal documentaries. He completed his doctoral studies in Film and Media Studies at UCSB with graduate emphases in ‘Technology and Society’ and ‘Global Studies’. 

He has been part of two collaborative projects related to mobile media practices: one concerned with the circulation of locally produced music videos through memory (microSD) cards in parts of India and the other exploring ICT usage (platform jumping tactics) in Zambia leading to publications in Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies (with Lisa Parks) and AsiaScape: Digital Asia (with Abhigyan Singh). Other than peer-reviewed articles (listed below), his work can be found in Film Quarterly, Media Fields journal, Sarai, and Sustainable Media  Asian Video Cultures , Aesthetic Life of Infrastructureand Global Digital Cultures collections. He has been coordinating editor of the Media Fields journal and co-edited (with Ryan Bowles) a special issue on Documentary and Space for the journal. Rahul received the Nicholas C. Mullins award from the Society for Social Studies of Science in 2014. His book titled "Radiant Infrastructures: Media, Environment, and Cultures of Uncertainty" (Duke University Press, Mar 2020) involves mediations of debates/controversies related to radiation emitting technologies such as cell antennas and nuclear reactors. Rahul's second book project "Unlimited: Aspirational Politics and Mobile Media Distribution" (under contract with MIT Press) examines aspirational mobilities and distribution trajectories unleashed by mobile phone technologies. Chapters in the book include case-studies of "informal" distrbution practices, "formal" streaming infrastructures and telecom (un)bundling, mobile phishing scams, viral circulations in short video platforms and mobile money movements supported by Finance as a Service (FaaS). 

At Penn, Cornell, and UCSB, Rahul has taught undergraduate and graduate classes on televisual representations and distributions, environmental media, digital media technologies, public cultures, Indian Cinema, documentary history and theory, and social networks. At Penn, he has been associated with the Latitudes reading group, the Mellon Project in Humanities, Urbanism, and Design, and Wolf Humanities Film Series ("In Relation"). He has been part of the Penn Humanities Forum on the theme of Translation, the Environmental Humanities and Digital Humanities Initiatives, and the advisory board for Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication. Rahul is also part of the graduate group in Comparative Literature, History of Art, and South Asia Studies.

He has been an editor for Journal of Visual Culture  (Nov 2019-June 2021) and continues to serve on the editorial advisory board of Media+Environment. Recently, he co-edited two special issues, one related to digital platforms in India and another regarding media power in Digital Asia with a focus on super apps and megacorps.   







Articles and Book Chapters

"Digital Platforms in Contemporary India: The Transformation of Quotidian Life Worlds" Introduction and guest editor. Asiascape: Digital Asia [with Fathima Nizaruddin] (2022)
"Media power in digital Asia: Super apps and megacorps" Introduction and Guest Editor . Media, Culture & Society [with Marc Steinberg and Aswin Punathambekar ] (2022)
"Mobile Witnessing on WhatsApp" South Asian Popular Culture (2020)
"Toxic Lunch in Bhopal and Chemical Publics" Science, Technology and Human Values (2016)

Courses Taught

fall 2024

ENGL 2952.401 Mobile Phone Cultures  

spring 2024

ENGL 5030.640 Transnational TV  

fall 2023

ENGL 1950.401 Television and New Media  

spring 2023

ENGL 5991.401 Media, Platform, Experience  

spring 2022

ENGL 078.401 Television and New Media  
ENGL 278.401 Environmental Media canceled  
ENGL 378.401 Global TV  

fall 2020

ENGL 078.401 Television and New Media  
ENGL 295.402 Mobile Phone Cultures  

spring 2020

ENGL 078.401 Television and New Media  
ENGL 295.401 Mobile Phone Cultures  

fall 2019

ENGL 078.401 Television and New Media  
ENGL 392.402 Environmental Media  

spring 2019

ENGL 295.401 Mobile Phone Cultures  
ENGL 378.401 Global TV  

fall 2018

ENGL 078.401 Television and New Media  
ENGL 590.401 Global Media Theory  

spring 2017

ENGL 078.401 Television and New Media  
ENGL 292.401 Documentary Cinema  

fall 2016

ENGL 078.401 Television & New Media  
ENGL 505.401 Environmental Media  

spring 2016

ENGL 392.401 Environmental Media  
ENGL 505.401 Publics  

fall 2015

ENGL 292.402 Bollywood and Beyond  

spring 2015

fall 2014