Aamir Khan and Celebrity Humanitarianism in Asia: Towards a Cosmopolitical Persona

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Scholarship of celebrity humanitarianism has been dominated by Western icons like Angelina Jolie, Madonna, and Bono, whose high-profile engagement has sought to alleviate various political, ecological, and humanitarian crises. In the past two decades, Asian stars have engaged in humanitarian issues as extensively as their North American or European counterparts. The intellectual effort devoted to this category of celebrity, nevertheless, remains scarce. To fill this gap, this article explores the crossover image of celebrated and powerful Bollywood celebrity-humanitarian, Aamir Khan. In what ways does Khan’s goodwill envision and contend cosmopolitan ideals? How does his commercialised presence in China complicate or explicate his embodied experience of advocacy? Finally, what does his commercial and benevolent engagement convey about Asian celebrity power in the global politics of star-making? This article adopts cosmopolitanism as the critical framework to examine Khan’s oscillation between cosmopolitan prospects and local attachments. It argues Khan’s Asian-yet-global persona exhibits a new mode of consciousness, which I describe as cosmopolitical, to thrive commercially and benevolently in multiple cultural and media networks. By so doing, this article not only attempts to disrupt Western-centric scholarship about celebrity humanitarianism but also expands the parameter of analysing Asian star power in bourgeoning networked cultures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-249
Number of pages16
JournalCelebrity Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • Amir Khan
  • Celebrity humanitarianism
  • cosmopolitical
  • Sino-Indian exchange
  • tactical expediency


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