Nilanjana Bhattacharjya

Nilanjana Bhattacharjya is an ethnomusicologist and popular music scholar who focuses on South Asian popular music and film in India, as well as in the South Asian diaspora. She currently teaches interdisciplinary courses on the humanities, Asian Studies, music, and film at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. She has been researching how respective communities use music to define their identities, and how the meaning of that music changes as it travels one location to another since she began her doctoral research in 1999. Her research has focused on topics including the transnational career of the early 20th century dancer Uday Shankar in the United States and Europe, British popular musicians of South Asian descent in London during the mid 1990s through early 2000s, and Hindi film music sequences’ role in popular Hindi films. She is particularly interested in how the song sequence— once the distinctive marker of an Indian popular film— is evolving to respond to developments in the film and music industries, as well as changing tastes.

Her publications appear in the journals Asian Music, South Asian History and Culture, andSouth Asian Popular Culture, and the books Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Music and Dance, and South Asian Transnationalisms: Cultural Exchange in the Twentieth Century. 

Most recently, she has been working closely with other scholars who focus on the South Asian diaspora in the United States as a member and current co-chair of the Academic Council of the South Asian American Digital Archive <https://www.saadigitalarchive.org/>, which aims to raise awareness about South Asian American history by preserving historical documents and making them available to the public.

Nilanjana Bhattacharjya
Honors Faculty Fellow at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University

Areas of Expertise: Ethnomusicology, South Asian popular music, Music and migration, South Asian popular culture, South Asian popular culture in the diaspora, South Asian American history, South Asian immigration

Location: Tempe, AZ

Contact Information:
Email: nilanjana.bhattacharjya@asu.edu
Phone: 480-727-6642

Heard on NPR Morning Edition: How The ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ Melody Came To Represent Asia

Added May 2015