3. How are borders and territories of media scholarship being contested and revised in the turn toward the global, while at the same time calling attention to the importance of local specificity?

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Marks: I think this question is about reception and circulation. I’m not sure how much the turn toward the global has really taken place. Rather, media works have much more complex trajectories than before. American or Bollywood programming that plays on televisions in the Arab world becomes a new thing quite different from what it was at its origin (and of course it was already different as soon as it reached Boise, Vancouver, and Delhi). Investment decisions and fan enthusiasms trail behind this programming like festoons.

Hastie: Cinephilia – as a practice, a history, and an object of analysis – is often located in France and more specifically Paris, whether tied to the “auteurist” critics writing for Cahiers du Cinema in the 1950s or the theorist-filmmakers delineating “photogénie” in the 1920s. Of course, in practice, cinephilia has always crossed national borders: American ex-pat H.D.’s most “cinephilic” writings in the pages of the British-based journal Close Up expounded on films by Carl Theodor Dreyer, Lev Kuleshov, and G.W. Pabst, whereas Cahiers critics forged the notion of the auteur through American industrially produced films. Still, more recent films and scholarship have situated cinephilic practices in a broader array of locations. In so doing, this work situates local practices within historical and global contexts.

For instance, Camaroonian filmmaker Jean-Marie Téno’s Sacred Places (2010) is partly the story of a video club active in the district of St. Leon in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Paradoxically, whereas Ouagadougou is a center of African film exhibition (the biennial Pan African Film Festival), this local video club largely lacks access to African films, instead showcasing mainstream work from the US, Hong Kong, and India. Téno’s film thus displays a significant disconnect between local and global access and the resulting cinephilic experiences. Aboubakar Sanogo, a contributor to Framework’s 2009 dossier on cinephilia, considers these same paradoxes, offering examples of how African filmmakers and audiences have responded to this very issue of access. In a brief historical description of Africa’s engagement with cinephilia, he writes that:

The battle for African independence was therefore also a fierce and loving battle for the cinema, for the right to produce and diffuse one’s own filmic images, to counteract the heritage of colonial cinema and to have a cinematic dialogue between African filmmakers and spectators in Africa and around the world. (227)

Most recently, Nigerian film and video productions – or “Nollywood” – has prompted a cinephilia that “embrace[s] the video form as a legitimate avenue for filmmaking. In doing so, they anticipated the current global embrace of the digital” (228). As Sanogo goes on, “[T]his self-financed industry displaced Hollywood as a major site of cinephilia in Nigeria and has been relentlessly conquering the rest of the continent all the way to South Africa and the Caribbean, even making serious inroads in North America and Europe” (228). Téno’s film, Sanogo’s scholarship, and the spectatorship practices that both showcase each reveal significant ways in which media scholarship and transnational filmmaking together contest and revise borders as they turn at once to global and local instances.

Kheshti: The shifting of borders in media scholarship parallels that of media. Hip hop is an example of a musical form that has circumnavigated the globe multiple times representing numerous subjects & places. The current study of hip hop requires a consideration of it as an African-diasporic cultural form that has been grafted onto local sites that layer new and at times unexpected meanings onto the form’s genealogy.