Indian Accents

Shilpa Davé, author of the forthcoming University of Illinois Press book Indian Accents: Brown Voice and Racial Performance in American Television and Film (February 2013), was interviewed for a recent published piece titled “Hollywood goes South Asian.”

A second-generation Indian American, she has studied the role of South Asians in American pop culture extensively, and is writing a book on the subject. Speaking about growing up in Madison, Wisconsin, in the 1970s, she recalls, “We’d get really excited when we’d see an Indian face on television. I remember Babu from Seinfeld, and there was one guy on Hill Street Blues.” . . . She notes that producers and directors are perpetually in search of nonthreatening novelty, and contends Indians fill this role particularly well in the post-9/11 world.

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