Panel: “Border Patrol: Policing National Borderlands and Identity in Film”
Chairs: Philippa Gates and Dominique Brégent-Heald
Beginning in the early 1900s, the American film industry produced and exported hundreds of motion pictures set on or about the physical edges of the United States. For example, filmmakers of the first half of the twentieth century used the borderlands which the U.S. shares with both Mexico and Canada as figurative locations against which to construct racial and gender identities and as stages upon which to play out dreams of a new American empire and the furtherance of its economic power. In these films, both the Canadian and Mexican borders are portrayed as “soft” borders through which questions of American identity related to race, class, and nation could be raised and answered—offering narratives of border penetration to reassure audiences that any cracks in national identity could be shored up. The relationship between borderlands and the cinema established in the early twentieth century continues to this day, not only in Hollywood, but also throughout global film culture. Borderland settings can convey the complex processes revolving around the creation and/or maintenance of boundaries, demarcations, and divisions between the land and its people.
For this panel, we are seeking proposals that explore the connections between film and national borders in the films of any national cinema from any period.
Please send your 300 word abstract, brief bibliography, and bio as email attachments by August 1st, 2013 to Philippa Gates
Professor of Film Studies
Wilfrid Laurier Univeristy
Waterloo, ON, Canada
519.884.0710 x2476 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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