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Asma Ayob

Lecturer in Cinema Studies

Asma Ayob’s courses explore Contemporary Global Cinema and Auteur Theory with an emphasis on Bollywood films. Readings and discussions ease students into sophisticated analysis of films through current events and contemporary issues. Social history, identity, visual cultures and representations of gender are discussed and placed within the contexts of both global and Bollywood film conventions.

 Her research focuses on transnationalism, representations of women in Bollywood films, the Indian diaspora and the impact of auteur theory on social awareness and change. As a contributor to this field, she has presented papers internationally and published them. She argues that filmmakers have a responsibility to audiences and can substantially contribute toward positively influencing cultural normative behaviors and social and political realities. Through the critical examination of film narratives, we can understand the experiences and truths about various cultures.

More About Me

Ayob completed her PhD at UNISA (University of South Africa) where she was lecturer/course coordinator of the Creative Writing Program. She held a tenured position at UNISA until she resigned in March 2016 to relocate back to her home in New York. Since then, she has held positions at Mercy College and Fordham University.

In Ayob’s classes, students have learned the art of writing adult novels, children’s books and playwriting. After working on the award winning South African film Material (Freimond, 2012), she incorporated screenwriting into her curriculum.

Before working in academia, Ayob was the founder/principal of a developmental theatre project, Dreambooks Speech and Drama Club. This initiative was aimed at building self-confidence and exposing children aged 5-18 to the performing arts. During this time, she adapted her children’s books into stage plays that were performed at the illustrious South African State Theatre. Her children’s play entitled Heartbeat was extended for another run and performed by a professional cast of actors.

Her teaching and research interests are film studies, theatre, postcolonial studies, transnationalism, the Indian Diaspora, 19th and 20th century American literature, and the genre of fantasy in children’s literature.


  • Ayob, Asma & Keuris, Marisa. Bollywood Cinema – a Transnational/Cultural Role. Journal of Literary Studies. Taylor & Francis, Vol 33 (2): 2017.
  • Ayob, Asma. The new Indian Mothers in popular Bollywood cinema. In: Screening Motherhood in Contemporary World Cinema. Sayed, A. Canada: Demeter Press, 2016: 356-373. Print.
  • Ayob, Asma. Beyond Appearances: Transnationalism and the representation of women in Bollywood cinema. PhD thesis: 2015: University of South Africa.
  • Ayob, Asma. Transnationalism and Flights of Fantasy. Mousaion: South African Journal of Information Studies, 29(3): 2011.
  • Ayob, Asma. The Mixed Blessings of Disney’s Classic Fairy Tale. Mousaion: South African Journal of Information Studies, 28(3): 2010.
  • Ayob, Asma. The Changing Construction of Women Characters in Popular Hindi-Language Cinema from 1970-2007. A. dissertation: 2008: University of the Witwatersrand.
  • Ayob, Asma. Heartbeat and the Legend of the Bubble. 2005: Dreambooks, Pretoria.
  • Ayob, Asma. The Giraffe on Grandpa’s Farm. 2003: Printsource, Johannesburg.
  • Ayob, Asma. Heartbeat (2005) Writer & Director.
  • Ayob, Asma. The Alien Encounter (2003) Writer & Director.
  • Ayob, Asma. The Adventures on Grandpa’s Farm (2002) Writer & Director.
  • Material (Freimond, 2012) Script Consultant & Writer.
  • Ayob, Asma. India: A Miracle and a Paradox. 19.3 (3) May 1-June 30, 2012.
  • Ayob, Asma. Women of the Indian Diaspora 18.5 (5) Oct 1 -Nov 15, 2011.
  • Ayob, Asma. Disney: Myth and Diaspora 18.4 (4) Aug 1 -Sept 30, 2011.
  • Ayob, Asma. Behind the Scenes of Material 18.3 (3) June 1-July 31, 2011.
  • Ayob, Asma. Dilwaale Dulhania Le Jayenge … Setting world records …Again 18.1 (1) Feb 1- March 31, 2011.
  • Ayob, Asma. The New Indian Identity in South Africa 17.6 (6) Dec 2010 – Jan 2011.
  • Ayob, Asma. Indians and the Pyramid of Modern Art 17.5 (5) Oct 1- Nov 30, 2010.
  • Ayob, Asma. Growing up in New York and South Africa 17.4 (4). Aug 1 – Sept 30. 2010.
  • Ayob, Asma. The Changing Construct of Women Characters in Bollywood Cinema 17.3 (3) June 1- July 31, 2010