Hollywood South of the Border

This course will examine the treatment of Latin America in (mostly) Hollywood film. It will look at films set south of the border, films about the border itself, as well as the presence of Latino stars (actors, directors, etc.) in the US film industry. Hollywood is, after all, located in the ambivalent borderland that is Southern California: once part of the Spanish Empire, later part of Mexico, and now increasingly marked by ongoing Latino immigration. Its cinematic output thus negotiates a set of fears and desires about the foreign other, but also the domestic self, as they play out on the silver screen over the course of a century of film. To study the issues these movies raise, we will examine genres from comedy to the Western, musicals to action adventures.

Students will have to: 1) write a weekly blog post (20% of the final grade); 2) with a classmate, facilitate one of the class discussions (20%); and 3) write a final paper of 6-8 pages (60%). Graduate students will, instead of the final paper, write a presentation, with slides, of 10-15 pages, that could be given in a conference or workshop.

Bhabha, Homi. “The Other Question…” Screen 24.6 (1983): 18-36.
Brown, Michelle. “Mapping Discursive Closings in the War on Drugs.” Crime Media Culture 3.1 (2007): 11-29.
Campbell, Neil. “Defining Post-Western Cinema: John Huston’s The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre (1948).” New Wests and Post-Wests: Literature and Film of the American West. Ed. Paul Varner. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013. 2-.
Pease, Donald. “Borderline Justice/States of Emergency: Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil.” CR: The New Centennial Review 1.1 (2001): 75-105.
Pérez Melgosa, Adrián. “Dance Diplomacy: Film Musical Comedies as Models of Inter-American Integration.” Cinema and Inter-American Relations: Tracking Transnational Affect. New York: Routledge, 2012. 42-.
Sackett, Andrew. “Fun in Acapulco? The Politics of Development on the Mexican Riviera.” Holiday in Mexico: Critical Reflections on Tourism and Tourist Encounters. Ed. Dina Berger. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.
Schoultz, Lars. “Mutual Hostility as a Way of Life: The Nixon-Ford Years.” That Infernal Little Cuban Republic: The United States and the Cuban Revolution. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2009. 241-290.
Shaw, Tony. “Our Man in Managua: Alex Cox, US Neo-Imperialism and Transatlantic Cinematic Subversion in the 1980s.” Media History 12.2 (August 2006): 209-223.
Starr, Kevin. Inventing the Dream: California Through the Progressive Era. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986. 283-339
Swanson, Philip. “Going Down on Good Neighbours: Imagining América in Hollywood Movies of the 1930s and 1940s (Flying Down to Rio and Down Argentine Way).” Bulletin of Latin American Research 29.1 (2009): 71-84,
Watkins, Robert. “Grieving Identity Politics.” Freedom and Vengeance on Film: Precarious Lives and the Politics of Subjectivity. IB Tauris, 2016.

Further Reading:
King, John, Ana M López, and Manuel Alvarado, eds. Mediating Two Worlds: Cinematic Encounters in the Americas. London: British Film Institute, 1993.
Ramírez Berg, Charles. Latino Images in Film: Stereotypes, Subversion, and Resistance. Austin, TX: University z of Texas Press, 2002.
Stevens, Donald, ed. Based on a True Story: Latin American History at the Movies. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1997.

We will screen films in the second half of each class (there will be a popcorn rota); the first half of class will therefore be devoted to a discussion of the film screened in the previous class. Blog posts are due either Monday evening or Wednesday evening (i.e. the night before class). You may choose which of the two films you write on each week, but you must write one blog post per week.

July 4: Introductions
Screening, The Man from Acapulco (1973, 95min)
July 6: Reading: Homi Bhabha, “The Other Question”
Screening: The Mark of Zorro (1920, 107min)
July 11: Reading: Kevin Starr, Inventing the Dream 283-339
Screening: Flying Down to Rio (1933, 89min)
July 13: Reading: Phil Swanson, “Going Down on Good Neighbours”
Screening: Down Argentine Way (1940, 89min)
July 18: Adrián Pérez Melgosa, “Dance Diplomacy”
Screening: Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948, 126min)
July 20: Reading: Neil Campbell, “Defining Post-Western Cinema”
Screening: Touch of Evil (1958, 95min)
July 25: Reading: Donald Pease, “Borderline Justice/States of Emergency”
Screening: Fun in Acapulco (1963, 97min)
July 27: Reading: Andrew Sackett, “Fun in Acapulco?”
Screening: Bananas (1971, 82min)
August 1: Reading: Lars Schoultz, “Mutual Hostility as a Way of Life”
Screening: Walker (1987, 94min)
August 3: Reading: Tony Shaw, “Our Man in Managua”
Screening: The Three Burials of Melquíades Estrada (2005, 121min)
August 8: Reading: Robert Watkins, “Grieving Identity Politics”
Screening: Sicario (2015, 121min)
August 10: Reading: Michelle Brown, “Mapping Discursive Closings”

Language of Instruction: English

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