EVENT Mar 05
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Immigrants of the 21st Century in Spanish and Latin American Film (panel within NeMLA) (51st NorthEast Modern Language Associattion (NeMLA))

Boston, MA
Organization: NeMLA
Event: 51st NorthEast Modern Language Associattion (NeMLA)
Categories: Postcolonial, Hispanic & Latino, Cultural Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Caribbean & Caribbean Diasporas, Mediterranean
Event Date: 2020-03-05 to 2020-03-08 Abstract Due: 2019-09-30

Given the current political climate, immigration is a hot topic. It is indeed a complex issue with multiple ramifications, from its economic impact, to border security, or ethical duty. Regardless of our personal stand, few will doubt that contemporary immigration patters are challenging obsolete conceptions of nation and identity. The voices of the newcomers want to have a say in "Shaping and Sharing Identities: Spaces, Places, Languages, and Cultures", the theme of the 2020 NeMLA Convention.

Filmic representations of immigrants in contemporary Latin American, Spanish, or US cinema acknowledge the presence of immigrant subjects, document their journey, and make them visible by giving them a space on the screen. Through the cinematographic lens and the filmic narratives, audiences can witness the transformation of contemporary western societies and the hybridization of their identities: in a best-case scenario, the immigrant subject is no longer a specter, but engages in intimate relationships that lead to a rediscovering of the Other, and to the blending of races, economies, and traditions. Filmic narratives also serve as an unofficial barometer of societal responses to immigration, as the representation of the immigrant subjects, the reproduction of stereotypes when constructing their image, or the fate of immigrants on the big screen are direct responses to the level of acceptance, integration, or rejection experienced by the hosting cultures. Although migration patterns to Spain, Latin America, or the US are unique to each destination, these filmic texts share trends and strategies, as the individuals involved suffer common biases and share similar challenges. Interestingly enough, in this postcolonial phenomenon it is the subaltern who comes to the metropolis searching for his/her own space, although in most instances the immigrant subject is still relegated to a marginal one, whether politically, culturally, or geographically. However, this undeniable immigration dynamic and constant renegotiation of power among all participants make western societies transnational spaces, where cultures, languages, and peoples intersect.

Through the lens of postcolonial, cultural, or media studies among possible approaches, this panel explores the presence of 21st-century immigrants in Latin American, Spanish, or US film or documentary. Possible topics include issues of otherness, (lack of) self-representation, the physical or metaphorical journey of the immigrant, linguistic/communication barriers, hybrid identities, neo-racism, or the return to the homeland. 

Papers may be in Spanish or English.



Ana Perez-Manrique