Empire and Film

Overview

In these two volumes of original essays, scholars from around the world address the history of British colonial cinema stretching from the emergence of cinema at the height of imperialism around the turn of the century to the separate moments of decolonization, the ending of formal imperialism, in the post-Second World War period. The books explore the interplay of political control and cultural representation in the late colonial period. Collectively, the authors gathered together here trace out the various ways...

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Overview

In these two volumes of original essays, scholars from around the world address the history of British colonial cinema stretching from the emergence of cinema at the height of imperialism around the turn of the century to the separate moments of decolonization, the ending of formal imperialism, in the post-Second World War period. The books explore the interplay of political control and cultural representation in the late colonial period. Collectively, the authors gathered together here trace out the various ways cinema was used in projects of colonial governance and show how cinema became important to the setting in place of ideological and affective structures that continue to resonate in the world of today. At its height, after 1919 when swathes of German East Africa fell to the UK in the form of the League of Nations Mandates, the British Empire claimed 58 countries, 400 million subjects, and 14 million square miles of ground. Cultural work would be central to the maintenance and governance of this diverse political space. The production, distribution, and exhibition of film was quickly aligned with this task, and was utilized by State and industrial and philanthropic institutions to further colonial projects, to shape the subject positions of colonizer and colonized, to demarcate between 'civilzed' and 'uncivilized' and codify difference, and to foster a political economy of imperialism that was predicated on distinctions between core and periphery. The first volume, Film and Empire, concentrates on the years 1895-1939 that encompass, broadly speaking, the enmeshing of cinema and the expansion and consolidation of empire. It begins with two essays that offer new perspectives on the conceptual and historical terrain of colonial cinema. Authors then address the emergence of cinema in the context of an imperial world system; the establishment and consolidation of State financed documentary cinema; philanthropic and educational formations of colonial cinema; industrial sponsored film; amateur and missionary production; and aspects of fictional cinema's engagement with empire.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844574223
  • Publisher: BFI Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/6/2011
  • Series: Cultural Histories of Cinema Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Lee Grieveson is Reader in Film Studies and Director of the Graduate Programme in Film Studies at University College London. He is the author of Policing Cinema: Movies and Censorship in Early Twentieth Century America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), and co-editor, most recently, of Inventing Film Studies (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2008), with Haidee Wasson. Grieveson is the co-director, with Colin MacCabe, of the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project "Colonial Cinema: Moving Images of the British Empire."
Colin MacCabe is Distinguished Professor of English and Film at the University of Pittsburgh where he has taught since 1985. He also holds a Chair in English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London. His research interests include modernism in both literature and film, the history of Modern and Early Modern English and theories of language. His many publications include James Joyce and the Revolution of the Word (2nd ed. London: Palgrave 2002), Godard: A Portrait of the Artists at 70 (New York: Farrar Strauss Giroux 2003) and T.S. Eliot (Plymouth: British Council 2005). He worked for the British Film Institute from 1985-1998 (first as Head of Production and then as Head of Research). He has produced or executive produced over 10 feature films and more than 30 hours of documentaries on the history of the cinema.

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Table of Contents

Detailed synopsis
Lee Grieveson and Colin MacCabe eds., Film and Empire
1. Lee Grieveson and Colin MacCabe, Introduction
The spaces of colonial cinema
2. Colin MacCabe, Colonial cinema: an introdution
3. Priya Jaikumar, Place/Map/Archive: Colonialism and Film Historiography's Spatial Crisis
Early cinema's encounter with Empire
4. Tom Gunning, Imagining the Primitive Spectator
5. Ian Christie, 'The Captains and the Kings depart': early imperial departure and arrival films
The State of Documentary
6. Lee Grieveson, The cinema and the (common)wealth of nations
7. Peter Bloom, Adult education and the documentary cinema of the Empire Marketing Board
8. Ashish Rajadhyaksha, Rethinking Colonial Economics: Cinema, Textuality, and the Imperial Economic Conferences
Industry and empire
9. Tom Rice, From the Colonies to Britain (and back again): British Instructional Films and The Empire Series (1925-1928)
10. Scott Anthony, Rotha's empire: An Internationalist attempt to paint the British Empire red
Philanthropy and education
11. James Burns, The Rockefeller foundation and early colonial film making
12. Rosaleen Smyth, The cinema and Britain's African colonies in the inter-war years
13. Aaron Windel, The Bantu Educational Kinema Experiment and the political economy of East and Central Africa
The home and the mission
14. Francis Gooding, Amateur The school, the hospital, and the collection box: British missionary priorities on film
15. Emma Sandon, Missionaries in India
Fictions of empire
16. Julie Codell, Hands across the empire: American and British films about Empire in the 1930s
17. Charles Musser, Paul Robeson and the cinema of empire

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