4. What historical and theoretical methodologies are employed to complicate the apparent dichotomy of local/global?

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Kheshti: Critical revisions on archives of knowledge that pay more attention to bodies, ephemera, affects and hauntings; feminist theories that pay attention to symbolic as well as literal borderlands (e.g. transnational, Indigenous, Black and Chicana feminisms). Emerging fields like sound, affect, sense and dance studies that trace movement through alternative modalities.

Marks: First, it’s important to be fluent in more than one language so we can meet on each other’s ground. Most non-Western scholars are fluent in English or a European language, but of course it’s better to be able to meet them in their languages.

Methodologically, Foucault’s work is useful for both archaeology (to identify a discursive formation, often at odds with official discourse) and genealogy (to pay attention to the seemingly marginal and frivolous rather than the major routes of transmission). Ethnography, thick description, authorial reflexivity, and other methods from anthropology, which were later taken up by cultural studies, are helpful. Also, I think the study of form is newly important for media works that travel globally. For example, poor image quality may signify that a work has been copied many times (true of digital media just as it was of analog!); or it may indicate that a work was produced for one format (such as PAL) and transferred to another.

Hastie: In his forthcoming book, Making Settler Cinemas: Film and Colonial Encounters in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, Peter Limbrick considers the notion of the “encounter” in order to demarcate colonial and thus inter-national meetings in local sites. Looking at canonical and non-canonical films from 1929-1956, Limbrick explores production, distribution, reception, and re-exhibition of films made across these three nations. In his course of study, localized experiences set a stage for a global nexus of exchange. Thus, the “encounters” Limbrick delineates exist between agents of empire and subjects of colonized states, between filmmakers working abroad with native citizens, between participants in these historical dramas and the site of re-exhibition, and between the scholar and the subjects of his study. By linking the original moments of film production to their future re-exhibition decades later, Limbrick extends the field of historical research in film and media studies. Moving between the past and the present, the local and the global, all the while maintaining a self-conscious awareness of her or his relation to history and place, the scholar can challenge those dichotomies that potentially structure global media studies.