Roopa Singh

Precious and Slumdog Millionaire: Beyond the Urban and the Melodramatic, Integrating American Popular Culture

In cinema studies, Indian films tend to be categorized as melodrama, and in the mainstream market, contemporary African American films often fall under the “urban” category. Are these tropes too narrow? Or are they just what they need to be at this stage of integration and American popular culture? This paper argues that rights based integration involving real property is necessarily supplemented, even completed, by cultural integration involving intellectual property. That is, the powerful spectacle of black sit-ins at whites-only lunch counters can and should be superimposed over the integration of the popular cultural topography of America. What has the integration of American popular culture looked like thus far? In cultural aggregate fashion, this paper pulls from legal scholarship; two films that recently attained high visibility within the American cultural landscape,
Precious and Slumdog Millionaire; as well as the emerging field of Hip Hop studies.