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University of Iowa News Release

April 8, 2004

Crossing Borders Conference To Explore Cinema, Global Connections April 16-18

A three-day conference at the University of Iowa will explore the importance of cinema in connecting people and cultures across national borders. "World Cinemas and Transnational Cultures" is the fourth convocation for the UI Crossing Borders Program, a federally-funded academic initiative designed to reinvent international studies in an era of increasing globalization.

The April 16-18 convocation is free and open to the public and will include film screenings, panel discussions, lectures with UI graduate students, faculty and invited distinguished guests. The scholars will address questions of world cinemas and aesthetics as well as questions of culture and transnationality -- the transcending of geographic borders. All events will be held in Room 101, Becker Communication Studies Building (BCSB).

The Crossing Borders Program has been holding convocations since its inception in 1998. Each has a theme, and graduate students play an important part in planning the events and presenting papers. The Crossing Borders convocation is sponsored by the following: the UI Crossing Borders Program; College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; International Programs; the UI Graduate College; the Institute for Cinema and Culture; and funds from the U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center in International Studies.

"It seems to me that each year these events get better and better as students and faculty see how valuable -- and unusual -- interdisciplinary conversations can be," said Paul Greenough, director of the Crossing Borders Program and UI history professor. "Not only do great visiting speakers come to Iowa City for the convocation, but our own students in international studies present their best work and attract attention."

Dudley Andrew from Yale University, Mette Hjort from the University of Hong Kong, Hamid Naficy from Rice University and George Yúdice from New York University will give the keynote speeches on Friday, April 16, and Saturday, April 17. There will be a closing roundtable with the keynote speakers on Sunday, April 18.

Films from Chad, France and Switzerland will be screened during the convocation. The film "Abouna" (Chad/France) will be shown Friday, April 16, starting at 7:30 p.m. in Room 101 BCSB. A discussion will follow. A video screening of "Europlex" (Switzerland) will be shown Saturday, April 17, at 10:15 a.m., also in Room 101 BCSB.

The topics for each day's panel discussions are: "The Arts and Globalization," "History, Anthropology, Globalization" and "Cinema and Globalization."

"Scholars have argued that throughout the 20th century cinema and other mass media provided the 'geopolitical imaginary' for globalization, reducing the distances between cultures and providing a narrative of shared experiences," says Kathleen Newman, UI associate professor of cinema and Spanish and chair of the Crossing Borders Convocation Organizing Committee. "But, it has also been argued that cinema has been a negative force in the same period, creating what Toby Miller has termed 'Global Hollywood' whose dominance of international film distribution reduced the opportunities for political and artistic expression outside of the United States."

For more information, a complete schedule of events or for those who need special accommodations to attend this convocation, contact Blythe Burkhardt at International Programs, 319-335-1436.

Crossing Borders is affiliated with UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and to promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026, Program: Blythe Burkhardt, 319-335-1436,; Writer: Mansi Bhatia