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Teaching Film as Transnational American Studies

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Abstract:

Increasingly, American Studies faculty are being asked to design new courses or revamp existing courses to reflect the field’s international turn. Virtually every aspect of American Studies lends itself to being re-conceptualized in international or transnational terms, but the study of American cinema is particularly fertile ground for such work. The nature of the industry and the medium makes cinema an obvious choice for helping students think about the relationship between the United States and the world. This presentation will identify specific aspects of American film history that can usefully be integrated into the American Studies classroom, either as discrete units or as the subject of a quarter or semester long course. In part because of my personal research focus and because of its resonance with key issues in the field such as borders, race, and ethnicity, my examples will be drawn from the U.S. in relationship to Latin America as seen through the lens of cinema.
From the early part of the twentieth century Latin American became stock characters in America cinema. Simultaneously, U.S. filmmakers sought expanded audiences in Latin America as well as other parts of the world. Film companies’ representational practices often seemed at odds with their economic goals. Both national film industries and, later, independent Latino/a filmmakers responded to this contradiction by offering their own images of Latino/a subjectivity and life. In addition to offering a general overview I will explore three key “moments” in this history that lend themselves to use in the interdisciplinary classroom: (1) reading the representation of Latin American/Latino characters in American silent film against historical texts dealing with Mexican migration to the United States; (2) exploring the circulation of film in Latin America as a politically and ideologically during the Cold War; and (3) Latino/a film production as transnational cinematic practice that allows students to explore the formation and articulation of identities in the context of broader concepts such as “accented cinema.”
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Name: American Studies Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.theasa.net


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p244467_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Serna, Laura Isabel. "Teaching Film as Transnational American Studies" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hyatt Regency, Albuquerque, New Mexico, <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p244467_index.html>

APA Citation:

Serna, L. "Teaching Film as Transnational American Studies" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hyatt Regency, Albuquerque, New Mexico <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p244467_index.html

Publication Type: Invited Paper
Abstract: Increasingly, American Studies faculty are being asked to design new courses or revamp existing courses to reflect the field’s international turn. Virtually every aspect of American Studies lends itself to being re-conceptualized in international or transnational terms, but the study of American cinema is particularly fertile ground for such work. The nature of the industry and the medium makes cinema an obvious choice for helping students think about the relationship between the United States and the world. This presentation will identify specific aspects of American film history that can usefully be integrated into the American Studies classroom, either as discrete units or as the subject of a quarter or semester long course. In part because of my personal research focus and because of its resonance with key issues in the field such as borders, race, and ethnicity, my examples will be drawn from the U.S. in relationship to Latin America as seen through the lens of cinema.
From the early part of the twentieth century Latin American became stock characters in America cinema. Simultaneously, U.S. filmmakers sought expanded audiences in Latin America as well as other parts of the world. Film companies’ representational practices often seemed at odds with their economic goals. Both national film industries and, later, independent Latino/a filmmakers responded to this contradiction by offering their own images of Latino/a subjectivity and life. In addition to offering a general overview I will explore three key “moments” in this history that lend themselves to use in the interdisciplinary classroom: (1) reading the representation of Latin American/Latino characters in American silent film against historical texts dealing with Mexican migration to the United States; (2) exploring the circulation of film in Latin America as a politically and ideologically during the Cold War; and (3) Latino/a film production as transnational cinematic practice that allows students to explore the formation and articulation of identities in the context of broader concepts such as “accented cinema.”


Similar Titles:
Teaching American Studies Outside the United States and Outside an American Studies Program or Department

Asian Indian Exclusion in the Americas: A Case Study of Inter-American and Transnational American Studies

From White Girl in Detroit to White Prof in African American Studies: Reflections on Teaching African American History

Global American Studies, Re-Modern Subjectivities: Contemporary American Studies and the Transnational Sublime

Situating Teaching Practices in the Macro Cultural Context: How Lesson Study May Transform American Teaching Culture


 
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