Lesson 11: What about that other Alien? Professor Daniel Bernardi/ Professor Michelle Martinez In the last lecture Who are the reel aliens? Science Fiction Genre White hero vs. Alien other
Alien invader as stand in for Latino immigrant Blade Runner (1982) 2 In this Lecture Documentary Films -As anthropology -As self-representation What about that other alien? -Criminalization of
undocumented immigrants -Documenting the undocumented 3 Documentary Films Lesson 11: Part 1 4 Documentary Documentary film is a broad category of visual
expression that is based on the attempt, in one fashion or another, to "document" reality. Although "documentary film" originally referred to movies shot on film stock, it has subsequently expanded to include video and digital productions. Documentary, as it applies here, works to identify a "filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception" that is continually evolving and is without clear boundaries. -Wikipedia Click here for more information on documentary films.
5 Paul Espinosa Noted documentarian ASU professor Emmy award winner Many works aired on
PBS PhD in Anthropology Click here to read more about Paul Espinosa 6 From Anthropology Anthropologists, as many of us know, typically go someplace far away, like the South Sea Islands, and study what the natives do. After they finish their fieldwork, they return home, usually to a
university in the First Worlds, and write up their observations about what the natives do. 7 From Anthropology I decided to go to a village in southern California named Hollywood and study what the natives do. I thought it could be productive to study this village and train the anthropological lens on media makers themselves
-Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi 8 To Documentary As I surveyed the TV landscape in the late 1970s, another thing became glaringly apparent -- the way in which my own community, Mexican Americans and Latinos in general- were imaged in the media. Either the presentation was very stereotypical-where the only Latino characters you saw were gang bangers, gardeners, maids or prostitutes -- or, Latinos were completely invisible. This reality, along
with a budding relationship with the PBS affiliate in San Diego, led me to become actively involved in producing content about my own community. -Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi 9 Ballad of an Unsung Hero (1983) Biographical look at Pedro J. Gonzalez Telegraph operator for Pancho Villa
Spanish language radio program out of Los Angeles, most successful of its time Framed in 1934 and sent to San Quentin 10 Documenting the Latino Experience I have come to appreciate the paramount importance of good storytelling. At the same time, I have also found so many absences in the media,
in terms of stories about the Latino experience. I found myself wanting to pursue such stories, and finding often that these stories required a kind of excavation. You had to dig down, and often dig deep, in order to recuperate these stories. -Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi 11 The Lemon Grove Incident (1986) Focuses on one of the earliest school
desegregation cases in U.S. history. Utilizes a combination of dramatized scenes, interviews, and historical footage. 12 Putting History on Film Of course, most of us know the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) and when we think about school segregation, we usually think about it in black and white terms. But in fact, many early segregation
cases occurred in the Southwest and they involved not just African American children but Mexican American, Native American, and Asian American children. 13 Putting History on Film The Lemon Grove Incident is the story of one of these cases. The film was part of a larger effort of recuperating aspects of the Mexican American historical experience, since so much of
that experience had never made its way into the history book. -Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi 14 Uneasy Neighbors (1990) A documentary profile of growing tensions between migrant worker camps and affluent homeowners in north San Diego
Chronicles the life and death of the Green Valley camp 15 Applied Anthropology In a general sense, my work is an example of applied anthropology, taking insights about culture, conflict, and change and presenting stories with meaning for a broad general audience. Perhaps the way in which my work has differed most from traditional anthropology (whatever that is) is in the
question of audience, my objective has been to reach a broad public audience, and to inform them about relevant social and cultural issues. -Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi 16 John Caldwell Professor of Film, Media and Television at UCLA Creative work centers on cultural
investigations Particularly interested in indigenism 17 Academia = Tell Blanket critical/theoretical prohibitions against representing the other are typically offered from positions of academic privilege. Most of these intellectual taboos ignore the sad fact that othering habits frequently emerge as integral part of local socio-political systems and conflicts. In most of
these cross-cultural quagmires, indigenism is rarely evident in any pure, isolatable form; or accessible to the filmmaker in a stable or clean state. -John Caldwell 18 Academia = Tell We called attention to the privileged position which anthropologists has traditionally held- knowing that they usually came from First World countries and studies in Third World communities which
were relatively powerless in comparison to where they came from -Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi 19 Documentary = Show Filmmakers, academics, and activists owe it to themselves and their constituents to more carefully pick apart the layers of outside interest that typically broach, exploit, and manage indigenous racial identities in public
-John Caldwell 20 Kuije Kanan: Managalase Tattooing (1985) Ethnographic documentary Explores the prohibition of an ancient practice/art through interviews and reenactments 21
Documenting Culture as Preservation The documentary represented a rather simple and direct attempt to allow the surviving elders to demonstrate and resurrect this culture-defining practice for other villagers, their families and children. -John Caldwell 22 From Freak Street to Goa
Freak Street -Released in 1989 -Filmed from 1980-1986 Tracks privileged westerners as they explore and reverse immigrant to third world cultures. 23 Filming Up With nationalism and colonialism apparently at passe, indigenism has
emerged as a favored rhetorical ploy that is used and misused by all sorts of crosscultural players. Earnest free-thinkers invoke their indigenism to counter exploitive U.S. culture, European commercialism, and globalization. - John Caldwell 24 Rancho California (por favor) Exposed how the suburban migrant indigenous lived in the San Diego margins Chronicles the struggles and attempts to
maintain culture, rights in third world conditions in heart of first world neighborhood 25 Visualizing the Invisible Several of my UCSD students from the area denied that such camps existed. These (fairly symptomatic) denials made me look for how racial identities were being conventionalized as natural
phenomena in Southern Californias picturesque landscape. -John Caldwell 26 The Big Point The use of documentary becomes a means to speak alternatively about what society and mainstream media keeps invisible such as issues of otherness, anything that may upset the status quo. Documentary filmmaking allows for selfrepresentation and criticism of power
structure in a media available to a wide audience. 27 The Other Alien Lesson 11: Part 2 28 Uneasy Neighbors (1990) By Paul Espinosa
Profiles growing tensions between migrant worker camps and affluent homeowners in north San Diego Seeks to de-criminalize and subvert the notion of immigrant as alien 29 Rancho California (por favor) (2002) By John Caldwell Exposed how the suburban migrant
indigenous lived in the San Diego margins Highlighted the differences regarding indigenous migrant vs. Mexican migrant experience 30 From Heat Back in the early 1980s, and even today, the topic was often framed around the issue of criminal activity. And the media contributed to this framing by generating a
large amount of coverage of immigrants being apprehended at the border. -Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi 31 To Light The iconic image was a nighttime scene of poor Mexican immigrants, hands held high, as border patrol agents with night scopes and helicopters arrested them and sent them back to Mexico. This was a classic case of media shedding lots of heat but no light on a topic. I believed that to
gain even a basic understanding of immigration, you had to know who these people were and why they were coming north. -Interview with Paul Espinosa by Dr. Daniel Bernardi 32 A Third World Hidden within the First Third world conditions were the norm and pervaded scores of camps throughout north San
Diego county. But by what logic had these conditions been made socially acceptable in the region? -John Caldwell 33 Managed Oppression In Rancho California (por favor), I decided to shift away from any attempt at creating a pure ethnic space for expression in order to try to
articulate the many material layers and symbolic boundaries that the public uses to construct and assign race. What emerged, on camera, and in interviews, was a very real sense that the ruralsuburban landscape in the area of the camps was meticulously managed. -John Caldwell 34 The Other within the Other Anti-immigration rhetoric demonized all migrants as Mexicans and illegals. At the same time,
resurgent, flag-waving Mexican nationalism evident in the anti Prop-187 rallies in Los Angeles and San Diego totalized immigration in a different way -- one that created a monolithic nationalist block that covered over all sorts of cultural heterogeneity within the migrant worker communities. Yet, the Mixtecos we interviewed in the camps saw themselves as a self-governing and indigenous -- not as Mexicans. -John Caldwell 35
The Big Point By filming their documentaries, Espinosa ad Caldwell use the media to expose societies criminalization and participation in the reinforcement of racial and social stratification. Both filmmakers show how complex and fluid the construction of the other can be and seek to show an accurate portrayal of an issue that often gets demonized in the mainstream media. 36
End of Lecture 11 Next Lecture: Is Authenticity Possible? 37
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