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  my research


Disorientations: Spanish Colonialism in Africa and the Performance of Identity. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.  x + 445 pp.

This book analyzes the destabilization of boundaries between Europe and the Muslim world, and between Europe and Africa, as a consequence of Spaniards’ ongoing “rediscovery” of their Andalusi past beginning in the Enlightenment era and continuing up until the present day. It provides a detailed evaluation of the anxious reformulations of national identity that have resulted since Spaniards embarked upon a compensatory neo-colonial project in Africa, precisely when “scientific racism” came to the fore in Europe and the Americas. Founded upon a historiographic approach, the book scrutinizes a broad range of cultural texts including literature, film, painting, travel narratives and museum displays as well as official government documents.

Desorientaciones: El colonialismo español en África y la performance de identidad. Trans. Josefina Cornejo. Barcelona: Bellaterra, 2011. 463 pp. Spanish translation of above.

Feminist Discourse and Spanish Cinema: Sight Unseen. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. x + 322 pp.

This is the first book-length study of Spanish women filmmakers working from the 1920s through the 1990s, and of the larger impact of feminism on the works of male and female directors in Spain. Based upon extensive archival research and grounded in close textual analyses, this study highlights Spanish directors’ fraught negotiation of questions of authorship and agency, female subjectivity, and national cinema.  The book also includes reconsiderations and recontextualizations of the feminist film theory that, beginning in the 1970s, shifted the focus of Anglo-European cinema studies.

Cinema and Everyday Life in 1940s and 1950s Spain: An Oral History. Oxford: Berghahn Books, forthcoming.

This book explores the mechanisms of memory and the “performance” and practice of everyday life during the first two decades of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, based on oral history interviews concerning cinema-going with participants from Madrid and Valencia. During this time period the cinema was the only form of entertainment accessible to all urban social classes, and weekly or even daily movie attendance was not uncommon, and was closely imbricated with the management of material hardship and political repression.  This study is part of an international collaborative project, led by Jo Labanyi.

Radical Filmmakers at the Transatlantic Crossroads: New Cinemas and Networks of Exchange in the Long 1960s.  Book manuscript in progress.

This book works to destabilize the dominant yet impoverishing center-periphery logic adopted in many studies of the New Cinemas movements of the long 1960s, which tend to view international film movements of the era as subsidiary to developments in Europe, especially France. This study shifts the focus instead to the rich networks of transatlantic exchange that characterized this period. I analyze a number of important films and filmmakers that—together with essays, manifestos, and technology—traveled back and forth between Argentina, Cuba, Brazil, France, Spain and Mozambique. I show how the aesthetic, affective, and ideological contours of filmmaking were shaped by the transformational encounters, and sometimes equally productive “dis-encounters,” that resulted. My “entangled histories” approach also seeks to contribute to current scholarship in transnational cinema studies as well as in decolonial theory.

The Carceral Atlantic: Political Deportation and Penal Colony Practices in the Late Spanish Empire.  Book manuscript in progress.