At the November conference of the National Communication Association in San Francisco, Mary Grace Antony, Lecturer in Communication Arts & Sciences, will be awarded a place on the top paper panel of the International and Intercultural Division, and, as the author of the top-rated paper in the division will be announced as the winner of the Cooley Award.
Title: "Slum-Pups No More": Rescuing India's Slum Children
Indian poverty is often portrayed abroad in a manner that upholds imperialist frameworks of repression and Orientalist deviance, while simultaneously endorsing a White interventionist rhetoric to rescue the poor from their squalor. Third-world children constitute an especially vulnerable victim category. This study compares Indian and international news coverage of two child stars of the recent blockbuster Slumdog Millionaire, both of whom were living in a slum during the film's production, then taken to Hollywood for the Academy Awards, and finally deposited back in their slum homes. Findings reveal that although Indian coverage focused on the two children's celebrity status at the cost of ignoring other slum children's participation in the film, Western coverage promoted an interventionist rhetoric that commodified and distributed the spectacle and wretchedness of poverty. The two children were thus reduced to empty signifiers within a larger narrative of capitalist promotion and subjugation that diminished the agency of the marginalized and underprivileged.