Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | April 28, 2016

Transnational Orientalisms in Contemporary Spanish and Latin American Cinema

Transnational Orientalisms in Contemporary Spanish and Latin American Cinema

Department Chair Michele C. Dávila Gonçalves recently edited a book that includes not only an introduction and article by her, but also articles from faculty members Fátima Serra and Kenneth Reeds

OrientalismThe book, titled Transnational Orientalisms in Contemporary Spanish and Latin American Cinema looks at trends in recent decades in Spain and Latin America where transnational voices, typically stereotyped, alienated or co-opted in the Western world, have gained increasing presence in cultural texts. The transnational representation of the “Oriental” subject, namely Arabs and Jews, Chinese and other ethnic groups that have migrated to Spain and Latin America either voluntarily or forcefully, is now being seen anew in both literature and cinema.

This book explores Orientalism beyond literature, in which it has already garnered attention, to examine the new ways of seeing and interpreting both the Middle East and the East in contemporary films, in which many of the immigrants traditionally omitted from the dominant narratives are able to present the trauma, memories and violence of their exile and migration. As such, this volume explores the representation of those single and doubly marginalized groups in contemporary Spanish and Latin American cinema, analyzing how films from Spain, Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Argentina portray transnational subjects from a wide spectrum of the “Orient” world, including Maghrebs from North Africa, and Palestinian, Jewish, Chinese, and Korean peoples.

Once vulnerable to the dominant culture of their adopted homes, facing ostracism and marginalization, these groups are now entering into the popular imagination and revised history of their new countries. This volume explores the following questions as starting points for its analysis: Are these manifestations the new orientalist normative, or are there other characterizations? Are new cinematic scopes and understandings being created? The old stereotypical orientalist ways of seeing these vulnerable groups are beginning to change to a more authentic representation, although, in some cases, they may still reside in the subtexts of films.

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