Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, Professor of Cultural Studies
Her research and teaching interests include world literature and cinema with a special focus on Australian and New Zealand film, exile and migration in transnational literature and film, gender studies, film studies, and contemporary cultural studies of popular culture.
She has published two books, Sisters on Screen: Siblings in Contemporary Cinema (Temple UP, 2000) and Moving Pictures, Migrating Identities (UP of Mississippi, 2003).
She is also the author of several essays on such topics as the film directors Margarethe von Trotta and Jane Campion, New Zealand cinema, diasporic female identities in Asian-American and Asian-Canadian films, African writer Mariama Ba, African American writers Jessie Fauset and Dorothy West, and psychoanalytic criticism. Her current book project focuses on coming-of-age narratives and postcolonial identities in Australian and New Zealand cinema.
From the Australian Film Renaissance of the 1970s represented by such directors as Peter Weir, Fred Shepisi and Gillian Armstrong to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Rabbit Proof Fence, Mystery Road, An Angel at My Table, Whale Rider, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Australian and New Zealand have made a unique impact on international cinema. In this course, we will examine the ways in which selected films (features, shorts and independent film) from both countries engage with issues and themes involving national identity, race, history, myth, landscape and the ability of two small film cultures to survive and challenge the economic and cultural dominance of Hollywood. Our weekly film screenings will be supplemented by a discussion of short stories, poems and a novel in order to situate Australian and New Zealand cinema within a broader cultural and political framework.
This course is designed to introduce students to key issues in film studies, focusing on the history of American cinema from 1895 to 1960. We will pay particular attention to the "golden age" of Hollywood, with forays into other national cinemas by way of comparison and critique. Screenings will range from actualities and trick films, to the early narrative features of D. W. Griffith, to the development of genres including film noir (Double Indemnity), the woman's film of the 1940s (Now, Voyager), the western (Stagecoach) and the suspense film (Rear Window). Several short papers and in-class discussions will address how to interpret film on the formal/stylistic level (sequence analysis, close reading, visual language) as well as in the context of major trends and figures in film history.