Surviving Images: Cinema, War, and Cultural Memory in the Middle East
Surviving Images explores the prominent role of cinema in the development of cultural memory around war and conflict in colonial and postcolonial contexts. It does so through a study of three historical eras: the colonial period, the national-independence struggle, and the postcolonial. Beginning with a study of British colonial cinema on the Sudan, then exploring anti-colonial cinema in Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia, followed by case studies of films emerging from postcolonial contexts in Palestine, Iran, Lebanon, and Israel, this work aims to fill a gap in the critical literature on both Middle Eastern cinemas, and to contribute more broadly to scholarship on social trauma and cultural memory in colonial and postcolonial contexts. This work treats the concept of trauma critically, however, and posits that social trauma must be understood as a framework for producing social and political meaning out of these historical events. Social trauma thus sets out a productive process of historical interpretation, and cultural texts such as cinematic works both illuminate and contribute to this process. Through these discussions, Surviving Images illustrates cinema’s productive role in contributing to the changing dynamics of cultural memory of war and social conflict in the modern world.
About the Author
Kamran Rastegar is Associate Professor of Arabic Literature and Culture at Tufts University.
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When it was first published in French in 1980, The Ordinary Man of Cinema signaled a shift from the French film criticism of the 1960s to a new breed of film philosophy that disregarded the semiotics and post-structuralism of the preceding decades. Schefer describes the schizophrenic subjectivity the cinema offers us: the film as a work projected without memory, viewed by (and thereby lived by) a subject scarred and shaped by memory. The Ordinary Man of Cinema delineates the phenomenology of movie-going and the fleeting, impalpable zone in which an individual’s personal memory confronts the cinema’s ideological images to create a new way of thinking. It is also a book replete with mummies and vampires, tyrants and prostitutes, murderers and freaks — figures that are fundamental to Schefer’s conception of the cinema, because the worlds that cinema traverses (our worlds, interior and exterior) are worlds of pain, unconscious desire, decay, repressed violence, and the endless mystery of the body. Fear and pleasure breed monsters, and such are what Schefer’s emblematic “ordinary man” seeks and encounters when engaging in the disordering of the ordinary that the movie theater offers him. Among other things, Schefer considers “The Gods” in 31 brief essays on film stills and “The Criminal Life” with reflections on spectatorship and autobiography. While Schefer’s book has long been standard reading in French film scholarship, until now it has been something of a missing link to the field (and more broadly, French theory) in English. It is one of the building blocks of more widely known and read translations of Gilles Deleuze (who cited this book as an influence on his own cinema books) and Jacques Ranciere.
About the Author
Jean Louis Schefer (born in 1938) is a prolific and influential scholar of art history, theology, philosophy, music, and linguistics, as well as an author of fiction.
In the digital age, technology has shrunk the physical world into a global village, where we all seem to be connected as an online community as information travels to the farthest reaches of the planet with the click of a mouse. Yet while we think of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook as open and accessible to all, in reality, these are commercial entities developed primarily by and for the Western world. Considering how new technologies increasingly shape labor, economics, and politics, these tools often reinforce the inequalities of globalization, rarely reflecting the perspectives of those at the bottom of the digital divide. This book asks us to re-consider whose global village we are shaping with the digital technology revolution today. Sharing stories of collaboration with Native Americans in California and New Mexico, revolutionaries in Egypt, communities in rural India, and others across the world, Ramesh Srinivasan urges us to re-imagine what the Internet, mobile phones, or social media platforms may look like when considered from the perspective of diverse cultures. Such collaborations can pave the way for a people-first approach toward designing and working with new technology worldwide. Whose Global Village seeks to inspire professionals, activists, and scholars alike to think about technology in a way that embraces the realities of communities too often relegated to the margins. We can then start to visualize a world where technologies serve diverse communities rather than just the Western consumer.”
In this expansive historical synthesis, Richard Butsch integrates social, economic, and political history to offer a comprehensive and cohesive examination of screen media and screen culture globally – from film and television to digital media – as they have evolved through the 20th and 21st centuries. Drawing on an enormous trove of research on the US, Britain, France, Egypt, West Africa, India, China and other nations, Butsch tells the stories of how media has developed in these nations and what global forces linked them. He assesses the global ebb and flow of media hegemony and the cultural differences in audiences’ use of media. Comparisons across time and space reveal two linked developments: the rise and fall of American cultural hegemony, and the consistency among audiences from different countries in the way they incorporate screen entertainments into their own cultures. Deeply engaging, Screen Culture offers a masterful, integrated global history that invites media scholars to see this landscape in a new light as well as being suitable for students and interested general readers.
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About the Author
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