If a certain pair of CMCI denizens look a little more haggard than usual, it’s because they are currently recovering from jet-lag incurred while presenting papers at the Society of Cinema and Media Studies conference, probably the premiere annual academic event in Film & TV studies, in Seattle, WA last weekend.
CMCI cultural historian Dr Harvey G Cohen previewed the major arguments of his forthcoming book on the University of Chicago Press, The Great Depression Musicals and Hollywood’s New Deal, in a standing room only session as part of a panel covering “Cinema and the New Deal.” If you follow this blog, you know that he has been presenting information on this topic for a couple years now at various conferences around the world, but this presentation marked the first time at a conference that most audience members had seen the main movie he analyses in his book, the 1933 Warner Bros. musical Footlight Parade, starring Jimmy Cagney, which Cohen argues serves as a metaphor for President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programme that sought to deal with the economic dislocation of the Great Depression. The audience’s familiarity led to even better questions from them than has been the case at previous conference stops, and meant that Cohen had to do less explaining of the film’s plot than usual. The film has been used by Cohen in the MA CCI module Film and American Culture since 2007, and is usually a favourite of the grad students, especially for those zany and kaleidoscopic Busby Berkeley sequences at the end of the film.
Appearing at the exact same time elsewhere at the conference, CMCI PhD student Stefania Marghitu who is working with Cohen as her supervisor, offered a new original paper concerning “FX’s The Bridge: Strategizing Towards An Expanding Latino Demographic” as part of the panel on “Television Networks and Brand Identity.” It is part of the seemingly constantly expanding work she has been producing in recent years in academic journals and websites concerning American TV culture, history, business and identity issues. Her PhD dissertation examines the world of female showrunners, and she has also written about gender roles in the series Mad Men, post-feminist discourse in Girls, and more. Check out all of her latest pieces at http://stefaniamarghitu.com/
Recently, Marghitu has been offered fully funded PhD places at two prestigious universities in the United States, and will be heading there in the fall after her current year at King’s College London. We will miss her here at CMCI, wish her all the best, and know she will excel across the Atlantic.
Later this spring, Cohen will be presenting at conferences in Amsterdam and Bologna, Italy on two different topics. Details to follow on this blog…