The “Shared Dream,” and Psycho-Spiritual Spectatorship: Alternate Myths of Dream Interpretation from the Global South

Dr. Poonam Arora
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It is my hypothesis in this paper that there are certain structural similarities between Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic myths of dreaming, dream interpretation uthat underlie the interpretation of visual texts from the global south. These myths from South Asian, African and near eastern cultures inform and inflect the phenomenology of spectatorship in these societies. Further, these similarities affect the flow of this cultural capital

In this paper I will draw from research in trans-cultural psychiatry, South Asian philosophy/religion and comparative mythology to elaborate on the concept of the “shared dream” and “maya” (or illusion) and how these influence the reception of cinema, the interpretation of specific visual texts and the formation of individual and collective identities in the global south.

Keywords: Cinema, Visual texts, performance, visual aesthetics, dream interpretation, meaning and visuality
Stream: Media, Film Studies, Theatre, Communication, Aesthetics, Design, Knowledge, Ethnicity, Difference, Identity, Religion, Spirituality
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Poonam Arora

Chair, Department of Humanities, College of Arts Sciences and Letters,
University of Michigan Dearborn, Society for Cinema and Media Studies


I have had my undergraduate and Masters education in India where I studied English literature. Later I came to the US to do a Ph.D. in Film Studies. I try to forge a bi-cultural perspective on the Humanities wherein the modalities of meaning cross over (and return) from one cultural tradition to another. I have researched (a)film and literary narrative and (b) phenomenologies of spectatorship in South Asian and North American visual culture. In my current research I am researching Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic myths of dreaming, the "shared dream" and the ways in which these inflect the reception of visual texts such as cinema, dance, theater and the religious spectacle. I hope that this research will diversify the dominant theoretical paradigms that are deployed to study visual and performance texts around the world. The way peoples make meaning of the image (static or moving) are deeply rooted in culturally specific epistemologies and it is time the perspectival aesthetics of post-Renaissance Europe were widened to explain different cultural texts.

Ref: H06P0056