November 18, 2020

Pedagogies of Perspective: The Challenges and Opportunities of Teaching Moving Images and Gender in a Multicultural Classroom

Virtuell Lärarkonferens 2020

 

Master level and optional (Fristående) courses represent a challenge for educators insofar as they gather students from a varied set of disciplines and cultural backgrounds. The challenges range from the students’ home country approach to higher education pedagogy, different disciplinary background, or even different levels of academic accomplishments that go beyond the standardization of academic degrees. Sensitive topics addressed in the humanities, such as questions of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, or class, can be particularly challenging when students are encouraged to engage in seminar discussions within a multicultural background. This paper looks at the pedagogic ways in which educators can address these challenges by creating safe environments of discussions that directly engage with the cultural perspective of students while integrating the use of historical sources available in digital archives. The case study is based on a pilot experience conducted during the seminars for the course Moving Images and Gender; a free-standing course in the Film section of the Department of Media Studies. The results of this experience showed that students could attain a degree of distance from the object of study if reflecting upon certain film representations from a historical angle. Allowing the students to present historical examples from their cultural backgrounds using an analytical/critical perspective helped them reflect upon the discussed topics while developing an emotional distance from the cultural baggage. This approach to seminars reduced the affective response to critical analysis. The students shifted their role from subjects immerse in cultural heritage to cultural mediators, guiding their colleagues into a discovery of cross-cultural perspectives.

August 31, 2019

A Woman’s Job: Edith Head’s Transformation from School Teacher into Hollywood’s Most Iconic Costume Designer

Bridging Gaps: Re-Fashioning Stories for Celebrity Counterpublics, Center for Media Celebrities, New York City, USA.

July 18, 2019

From Costume Designer to Fashion Expert: Edith Head as a Cultural Mediator of Style and Femininity in Postwar America

Fashion and Costume Designers as Cultural Translators: Adapting Dress Across the Media, University College of Cork, Ireland.

July 10, 2019

The Most Famous Costume Designer: Constructing Edith Head’s Narrative from School Teacher to Hollywood Stardust

Fashion, Costume and Visual Culture, Roubaix, France.

June 13, 2019

Italy on the Red-Carpet: The Postwar Presence of Italian Designers at the Academy Awards,

Global Intersections and Artistic Interconnections: Italian Cinema and Media Across Times and Space

American University in Rome, Italy.

March 13, 2019

Hollywood In and Out: A Look into the Academy Awards Ceremony's Transition from Private Banquet to Public Spectacle

SCMS Conference 2019, Seattle.

March 15, 2018

The Case of Lux Flakes: The Costume Designers as Fashion Experts and Endorsers during the Studio Era"

SCMS 2018, Montreal.

July 19, 2017

Cuerpos de Emulación Pecuniaria: Estrellas de Hollywood como elemento homogeneizador de la femineidad e identidad nacional en los Estados Unidos (1906-1930)

El fin del siglo XIX acarreó cambios sustanciales para las mujeres en los Estados Unidos. El cambio de paradigma que permitió a hombres y mujeres compartir la esfera pública, el creciente rol de la mujer en el ámbito laboral, el surgimiento del culto a la “personalidad,” y la consolidación de la industria del cine tuvieron incidencia directa en la reconfiguración de la femineidad y la búsqueda de una identidad nacional entre las jóvenes inmigrantes de la clase trabajadora de los Estados Unidos. Lentamente, las estrellas de cine ganaron prestigio como símbolos de belleza y movilidad social para miles de jóvenes mujeres gracias a la circulación de imágenes en suplementos dominicales y revistas especializadas en cine. En breve, la industria del cine Estadounidense comenzó a replicar los formatos de revistas como Photoplay y Motion Picture Magazine para los países de habla hispana, propagando su hegemonía a lo largo y a lo ancho del continente. Parte fundamental del proceso de identificación está ligado al creciente uso de estrellas de cine en publicidades de productos de belleza y moda. La agencia de publicidad J. W. Thompson fue el eje fundamental de dicha dinámica. La empresa contaba con un grupo de mujeres ejecutivas a cargo de las cuentas correspondientes as productos de belleza. Estas mujeres, en su mayoría pertenecientes al movimiento sufragista de los Estados Unidos, tuvieron un rol fundamental en el desarrollo de productos y campañas orientadas al público femenino. La presentación dará un paneo histórico sobre la transición de estos cuerpos de emulación pecuniaria con el fin de comprender el cambio cultural que llevó a las estrellas de Hollywood de símbolos la “Americanization” de la diáspora en los Estados Unidos a convertirse en sinónimo de glamour y sofisticación para mujeres alrededor del mundo.

 

XIII JORNADAS NACIONALES DE HISTORIA DE LAS MUJERES VIII CONGRESO IBEROAMERICANO DE ESTUDIOS DE GENERO, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

July 2017.

March 21, 2019

The Classroom and the Archive: Teaching Film and Media History Using Digital and Physical Primary Materials

From Scarcity to Abundance: How Digitized Material Demands Academic Cooperation

 

The recent proliferation of free-access digital archives opened a new era of research in which costs decrease as information flourishes. This abundance represents countless possibilities, but as material becomes more vast and accessible, the anxieties for publishing increase, in a profession that already dealt with a haunting “race against time” to present results. In addition, the challenge of accessing larger bulks of material builds up pressure, calling for more precision in arguments, as results derive from a larger amount of primary sources. The use of fan magazines as sources for academic research is vast in film and media studies, but its potential across newer fields—such as fashion and celebrity studies—is increasingly bringing more players into the game. 

Moving forward with these changes without analyzing the extent of their impact would be awry. In this landscape, Carlo Ginzburg’s Microhistory and Walter Benjamin’s problematization of historical debris need to be revisited, not in metatheoretical manner, but rather in a search for answers in this new reconfiguration. My argument for this workshop is that abundance and time constrains enable a reformulation of research questions and the emergence of a more collaborative research environment; more material also requires more contextual knowledge, making the bulk of work increase exponentially. In addition, I call to not lose from sight that abundance does not imply completion, calling for awareness of the—always-tempting—illusion of historical completion.

This presentation explores the potentials and anxieties brought by the abundance and accessibility of digital archives, as it also intends to offer an overview of a potential reconfiguration of academic work enabled by these new research platforms. As with every workshop, I bring more questions that answer to open up for debate. How can we get pass the anxiety of abundance? Do we need to “zoom in” deeper when conducting research in this new landscape? How do research networks reconfigure as more material becomes electronically available? Is this new availability of material opening up for historical revisionisms? How do we incorporate these tools in the classroom?

SCMS 2017, Chicago, USA

The “Paco Rabanne Myth”: How archival research can help us deconstruct celebrity discourses

Celebrity Culture and Power - Between Culture and Politics, Copenhagen, Denmark.

November 2016.

The Future in the Past: Exploring Barbarella’s Intergalactic Catwalk

Despite its controversial reception in 1968, Barbarella (Dino De Laurentiis Cinematografica, 1968) looms large in popular culture. Disguised under its sartorial splendor, the film’s narrative clearly negotiates social anxieties of the late ‘60s. Similarly, its production design incorporates contemporary elements present in art, architecture and fashion that stand today as a symbol of the space age design. Arguably, these elements of style, along with its camp representation of the future, played a key role in catapulting the film to its cult status. Spanish designer Paco Rabanne is frequently credited for the creation of Jane Fonda’s onscreen parade of highly stylized costumes. Moreover, fashion magazines oftentimes associate the overall aesthetic of his brand to his past contrubution in the film, which has served for framing runway shows and inspiring collections to date. However, the man responsible for creating fashion for Roger Vadim's vision of the year 40,000 was French costume designer Jacques Fonteray. The case of Paco Rabanne and Barbarella serves as an interesting example of how popular culture appropriates history, contributing to the construction of myths through media. Grounded on archival research, this article explores the role of Jacques Fonteray in the overall creation of the Jane Fonda's costumes, debunking popular misconception regarding Paco Rabanne’s influence on the film’s overall aesthetics.

 

Popular Culture Association National Conference PCA/ACA 2016, Seattle, USA.

Oscar Night in Hollywood: Edith Head and the Emergence of the Academy Awards' Fashion Pre-Show

84th Anglo-American Conference of Fashion Historians, 2015, London, UK.

Jaws: Creating the Myth of the Man-Eating Machine

JAWS 40th Anniversary Symposium, 2015, De Montfort University, Leicester.

Because Fashion Matters: Studying the Intersections of Fashion, Film and Media

SCMS 2015, Montreal, Canada.

 

Abstract

The increasing interest in the study of fashion has opened up to the emergence of Fashion Studies as an independent field, with programs in several universities around the globe. However, the study of fashion should not be regarded as a new phenomenon. For decades, scholars from varied disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences have immersed themselves in the study of fashion, particularly in relation to film and media. Since the early days of cinema, the film industry played a key role in the promotion and representation of fashion. Likewise, its mediated character through newsreels, television, newspapers, magazines, photography and even paintings has facilitated the study of costume and dress history. Film scholars like Jane Gaines, Stella Bruzzi, and Pamela Church Gibson—among others—have vastly contributed to the interdisciplinary study of these intersections. Furthermore, in order to explore the specificities of these areas, Church Gibson launched the journal Fashion Film and Consumption, though the publishing house Intellect Books in 2011.

In this contemporary setting, a pertinent and necessary topic to explore is the demands on interdisciplinary approaches, both from the side of Fashion Studies scholars with a purist point of view, and from their counterpoints in Film and Media more likely to envelop fashion in visual culture as a whole.

As discussions regarding delimitations and canons take place behind close doors in fashion programs, the need to open up such debate to Film and Media scholars is vital to the future of a field that has seen a great part of its development through these neighboring contributions. 

The workshop will explore the study of Film, Media and Fashion in coexistence with the emergence of Fashion Studies as an independent field, focusing on questions of methodology, theory and practice through the experience of different film and media scholars working with fashion and film. Before opening up the floor for discussion, a brief set of presentations will serve as a framework to address the debate, engaging the audience in reflections surrounding the following questions: 

 

  • What are the challenges and advantages of film and media scholars engaging in fashion research? 

  • Is Fashion Studies an exclusive realm for fashion scholars? 

  • Is there one singular way to study and teach fashion independently from its neighboring disciplines? 

  • What can different approaches used in Film and Media Studies contribute to the study of fashion? 

  • To what extent can Fashion Studies exist as a totally independent field, avoiding connections with Film and Media? 

Oscar Night in Hollywood: Edith Head and the Emergence of the Academy Awards' Fashion Pre-Show

SCMS 2015, Montreal, Canada.

Who Cares About the Best Dressed?: Mr. Blackwell’s Infamous List and the Art of Self-Branding

The Celebrity Studies Journal Conference, 2014, London.

ABSTRACT

 

Before Joan Rivers’s Fashion Police (E! Entertainment, 2002- ), there was a man who made a reputation in Hollywood for his outspoken criticism of celebrity style. Provocative, overopinionated, controversial, admired, hated and feared; self proclaimed fashion’s advocate Richard Blackwell achieved worldwide recognition after launching his annual 10 Worst Dresed List in 1960. His outrageous comments against celebrities catapulted him to stardom, and turned him into a popular culture icon. Yet, the articulation of his list was a clear act of Winchellism rather than a sincere call for style. But, how much did Blackwell know about fashion? How did he become an authority on how American women should dress and behave? Overlooked by the fashion industry, Mr. Blackwell achieved a status among popular audiences that his more knowledgable detractors could not outshine. This paper looks at historical reception of Mr. Blackwell as a victimizer, but also a victim of celebrity culture. A master of performance and self branding rather than a fashion conoceur. A man seeking fame and recognition, who cleverly found a nische in the enterteinment industry through his controversial statements about stars, style and fashion, propelling a skyrocketing career in Hollywood he so longed for, and becoming a symbol for “all publicity is good publicity.”

Who Cares About the Best Dressed?: Mr. Blackwell’s Infamous List and the Art of Self-Branding

Popular Culture Association National Conference PCA/ACA 2014, Chicago.

ABSTRACT

Before Joan Rivers’s Fashion Police (E! Entertainment, 2002- ), there was a man who made a reputation in Hollywood for his outspoken criticism of celebrity style. Provocative, overopinionated, controversial, admired, hated and feared; self-proclaimed fashion’s advocate Richard Blackwell achieved worldwide recognition after launching his annual 10 Worst Dresed List in 1960. His outrageous comments against celebrities catapulted him to stardom, and turned him into a popular culture icon. Yet, the articulation of his list was a clear act of Winchellism rather than a sincere call for style. But, how much did Blackwell know about fashion? How did he become an authority on how American women should dress and behave? Overlooked by the fashion industry, Mr. Blackwell achieved a status among popular audiences that his more knowledgable detractors could not outshine. This paper looks at historical reception of Mr. Blackwell as a victimizer, but also a victim of celebrity culture. A master of performance and self branding rather than a fashion conoceur. A man seeking fame and recognition, who cleverly found a nische in the enterteinment industry through his controversial statements about stars, style and fashion, propelling a skyrocketing career in Hollywood he so longed for, and becoming a symbol for “all publicity is good publicity.”

September 12, 2013

Dior Salve a la Reina: Cristina Fernández´s Fashionable Pleasures and her Constant War Against the Media

Is an austerity discourse compatible with ostentation? Moreover, if so, how can the contempt against the middle class be compatible with the veneration of a wealthy leader? Why is Cristina Fernandez’s indulgent luxury forgiven while the working middle class is stigmatized as privileged oligarchs? How does this relate to the controversial and iconic figure of Eva Duarte de Perón? The paper describes the dichotomy between Cristina Fernandez’s national populist discourse and her personal preference for high-end brands that had turned her into a fashion icon, capturing the attention of fashion bloggers, international newspapers and even Vogue. Theoretically framed by O’Donell’s conceptualization of Delegative Democracies, the presentation will explore how disguised under a veneer of socialism—and pursuing Chavez’s model for Venezuela—Argentina’s president has mobilized a campaign to control the local Media that lead to confrontation with those journalists who persistently try to unmask her luxurious lifestyle, shopping preferences, and unclear finances. This contradiction between luxury and utterance is not new to the Argentine masses. The iconic figure of Evita was often under attack accused of enjoying the same lifestyle as those she criticized. The parallelism between these two figures draws an interesting conclusion about the role of media, performance, nostalgia, and fandom in Latin-American politics.

 

*"Dior Salve a la Reina" is a play on words exchanging Dios (God) for Dior as in Dior (God) Save the Queen.

 

 

Popular Culture and World Politics Conference PCWP VI, 2013, Stockholm, Sweden

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