196 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Film about their New Books

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    • TV & Film

Interviews with Scholars of Film about their New Books

    M. Hennefeld and N. Sammond, "Abjection Incorporated: Mediating the Politics of Pleasure and Violence" (Duke UP, 2020)

    M. Hennefeld and N. Sammond, "Abjection Incorporated: Mediating the Politics of Pleasure and Violence" (Duke UP, 2020)

    From the films of Larry Clark to the feminist comedy of Amy Schumer to the fall of Louis C. K., comedic, graphic, and violent moments of abjection have permeated twentieth- and twenty-first-century social and political discourse.
    The contributors to Abjection Incorporated: Mediating the Politics of Pleasure and Violence (Duke University Press, 2020) move beyond simple critiques of abjection as a punitive form of social death, illustrating how it has become a contested mode of political and cultural capital—empowering for some but oppressive for others.
    Escaping abjection's usual confines of psychoanalysis and aesthetic modernism, core to theories of abjection by thinkers such as Kristeva and Bataille, the contributors examine a range of media, including literature, photography, film, television, talking dolls, comics, and manga.
    Whether analyzing how comedic abjection can help mobilize feminist politics or how expressions of abjection inflect class, race, and gender hierarchies, the contributors demonstrate the importance of competing uses of abjection to contemporary society and politics. They emphasize abjection's role in circumscribing the boundaries of the human and how the threats abjection poses to the self and other, far from simply negative, open up possibilities for radically new politics.
    Maggie Hennefeld is Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her Twitter handle is @magshenny.
    Nicholas Sammond is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto.
    Joel Tscherne is an adjunct history general studies professor at Southern New Hampshire University. His Twitter handle is @JoelTscherne.
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    • 1 hr 12 min
    Russell J. A. Kilbourn, "The Cinema of Paolo Sorrentino: Commitment to Style" (Wallflower Press, 2020)

    Russell J. A. Kilbourn, "The Cinema of Paolo Sorrentino: Commitment to Style" (Wallflower Press, 2020)

    Russell J. A. Kilbourn’s The Cinema of Paolo Sorrentino: Commitment to Style (Wallflower Press, 2020) is the first comprehensive study published in the English-speaking world on one of the most compelling figures in twenty-first centry European film, Italian 2014 Academy Award recipient Paolo Sorrentino. Kilbourn’s book offers close readings of Sorrentino’s cinema in eight dense and elegantly written chapters and one coda: from the filmmaker’s first feature One Man Up, to The Consequences of Love, The Family Friend, Il Divo, This Must Be the Place, The Great Beauty, Youth, and the TV series The Young Pope, produced by HBO. The coda discusses the biopic on Silvio Berlusconi Loro (Them), which came out in 2018. While contextualizing Sorrentino within the legacy of Italian cinema tradition, Kilbourn establishes meaningful connections with international filmmakers (from Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing to Mary’s Harron’s American Psycho, among many others), literary texts (such as Primo Levi’s If This is a Man), and artistic works (such as Magritte’s surrealist paintings), showing how Sorrentino is “an exemplary twenty-first-century transnational filmmaker” and “an emergent auteur for the twenty-first century.” His definition of Sorrentino’s cinema as “commitment to style” summarizes his critical perspective on a filmmaker, who, Kilbourn argues, brings to life Godard’s famous statement that “the problem is not to make political films but to make films politically.”
    Russell J. A. Kilbourn is Professor of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Lauriel University. His books include Cinema, Memory, Modernity: The Representation of Memory from the Art Film to Transnational Cinema (2010) and W.G. Sebald’s Postsecular Redemption: Catastrophe with Spectator (2018)
    Nicoletta Marini-Maio is co-founder and editor of g/s/i-gender/sexuality/italy. Recent scholarly publications center on Italian cinema, particularly the intersections between politics, gender power relations, and collective memory; and auteur cinema. Her current book project is La nazione Winx: coltivare la future consumista/Winx Nation: Grooming the Future Female Consumer, a collaboration with Ellen Nerenberg (forthcoming, Rubbettino, Italy).
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    • 1 hr 13 min
    Kevin J. Bryne, "Minstrel Traditions: Mediated Blackface in the Jazz Age" (Routledge, 2020)

    Kevin J. Bryne, "Minstrel Traditions: Mediated Blackface in the Jazz Age" (Routledge, 2020)

    The Blackface minstrel show is typically thought of a form tied to the 19th century. While the style was indeed developed during the Antebellum period, its history stretches well into 20th- and even 21st-century America. Far from being the endpoint posited by much of the existing literature on the topic, the Jazz age of the 1920s actually saw a flourishing of Minstrel activity, as new forms of media allowed the circulation of Blackface images in ever greater profusion. This circulation, these images, and the performances that lay behind them make up the focus of Dr. Kevin James Byrne’s Minstrel Traditions: Mediated Blackface in the Jazz Age (Routledge, 2020).
    Minstrel Traditions examines the technologically-mediated interactions that developed between live performances and their circulating images during this fraught period. It does so through a set of case studies: the last musical of Bert Williams, the live career of (now-former) pancake brand/performer Aunt Jemima, amateur minstrel shows and the companies that provided them with material, Black vaudeville performers, and Black Broadway. By examining how Blackface transitioned from live performance to images circulating through the mass media, Dr. Byrne provides an insightful account that deepens our understanding of the enormous, baleful influence the form exerted on 20th century culture.
     
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    • 1 hr 7 min
    Telory Arendell, "The Autistic Stage: How Cognitive Disability Changed 20th-Century Performance" (Sense Publishers, 2015)

    Telory Arendell, "The Autistic Stage: How Cognitive Disability Changed 20th-Century Performance" (Sense Publishers, 2015)

    In The Autistic Stage: How Cognitive Disability Changed 20th-Century Performance (Sense Publishers, 2015) (Sense Publishers, 2015), Telory Arendell creates a revolutionary fusion of disability studies and performance studies. Arendell touches on the work of autistic poet and librettist Christopher Knowles, portrayal of autism in film, and the use of theatre as a therapy for those on the autism spectrum. In so doing she overturns ableist assumptions about autistics’ inability to connect with others or communicate effectively, showing how an autistic sensibility can actually be deeply attuned to theatrical modes of play and storytelling.
    Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA program at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts. His plays have been produced, developed, or presented at IRT, Pipeline Theatre Company, The Gingold Group, Dixon Place, Roundabout Theatre, Epic Theatre Company, Out Loud Theatre, Naked Theatre Company, Contemporary Theatre of Rhode Island, and The Trunk Space. He is currently working on a series of 50 plays about the 50 U.S. states. His website is AndyJBoyd.com, and he can be reached at andyjamesboyd@gmail.com.
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    • 55 min
    Justin Gomer, "White Balance: How Hollywood Shaped Colorblind Ideology and Undermined Civil Rights" (UNC Press, 2020)

    Justin Gomer, "White Balance: How Hollywood Shaped Colorblind Ideology and Undermined Civil Rights" (UNC Press, 2020)

    Justin Gomer is the author of White Balance: How Hollywood Shaped Colorblind Ideology and Undermined Civil Rights, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2020.
    White Balance explores the connection between politics and film from the 1970s to the 1990s. Gomer illustrates the myriad of ways that Hollywood relied on and helped solidify an emerging ideology of colorblindness in the wake of the civil rights movement.
    From films like Dirty Harry to Rocky, Gomer is able to show just how much politics and film are intertwined during this period and held to reinforce each other in order to gradually chip away at the gains made during the Civil Rights Movement.
    Justin Gomer is an Assistant Professor of American Studies at the California State University-Long Beach.
    Derek Litvak is a Ph.D. student in the department of history at the University of Maryland.
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    • 1 hr 9 min
    Greg Mitchell, "The Beginning or the End: How Hollywood—and America—Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" (The New Press, 2020)

    Greg Mitchell, "The Beginning or the End: How Hollywood—and America—Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" (The New Press, 2020)

    dSoon after atomic bombs exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, MGM set out to make a movie studio chief Louis B. Mayer called “the most important story” he would ever film: a big budget dramatization of the Manhattan Project and the invention and use of the revolutionary new weapon. Greg Mitchell’s The Beginning or the End: How Hollywood—and America—Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (The New Press, 2020) chronicles the first efforts of American media and culture to process the Atomic Age. A movie that began as a cautionary tale inspired by atomic scientists aiming to warn the world against a nuclear arms race would be drained of all impact due to revisions and retakes ordered by President Truman and the military.
    Greg Mitchell blogs at http://gregmitchellwriter.blogspot.com and is on Twitter at @GregMitch.
    Joel Tscherne can be followed on Twitter at @JoelTscherne.
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    • 1 hr 2 min

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