The Berkeley Film & Media Seminar Presents: FILM AND SPATIAL HISTORIOGRAPHIES


October 23, 2019

Thu, Nov 14, 2019, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Dwinelle Hall 142 (Nestrick Room)

Speaker: Priya Jaikumar

The space of a screen image has traditionally dominated conversations about cinematic space, because it is the most visually spectacular of its spaces.  With the intent to dislodge the centrality, though not the significance, of cinema’s visual space, in my book Where Histories Reside I follow commercial, art and nontheatrical films shot on location in India by British, Euro-American and Indian directors, to write a “spatial” film historiography. The verticality of periodized and geographically defined research is the traditional remit of film history, but in writing this book I found that the scope of a spatial critique in film could be fully realized only if I considered cinema’s complex artifactual status as a representational, affective, cultural, commodity, and techno-material form, each with its own particular social and spatial dimension. Indeed, as I argue, following the sociospatial registers of cinema in their granularity across a range of periods and regimes of power suggests new protocols for historical thinking about film. Abandoning any attempt at a book summary, I take a step back from my book in this talk to assess some of the conversations I am having with past and present film theorists, historians, social theorists, and media scholars, in writing about filmed space as the site of history. 

Priya Jaikumar is Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Cinema at the End of Empire: A Politics of Transition in Britain and India (2006) and most recently of Where Histories Reside: India as Filmed Space (October 2019), both from Duke University Press. Jaikumar is a historian and theorist of film, and has written on colonial cinemas, postcolonial theory, South Asian and British cinemas, critical theories of film history, place and space in cinema, geographical films and transnational feminism. Her work has been published in journals such as MARG, PositionsCinema Journal, The Moving Image, Post Script, Screen, World Literature TodayVLT, and in the anthologies Hollywood AbroadTransnational Feminism in Film and Media, Postcolonial Cinema Studies, Silent Cinema and the Politics of Space, Empire and Film and Routledge Companion to Cinema and Gender, among others.

This event is part of the Berkeley Film & Media Seminar

Sponsored by the Department of Film & Media