Decolonization and Postcolonial Cinema in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Nigeria

Presenter: Professor Kirsten Knopf, University of Bremen
Time/Date: 27 September 2017, 1130am-1:30pm
Venue: Research Hub 19.2072.

The representation of postcolonial non-European cultures in Western mainstream media – print, television, radio, feature films, and ethnographic films – is often a neo/colonial discourse fraught with ethnocentrism, prejudice, distortion, and stereotypes. Neo/colonial discourses have created myths of Indigenous and local people embedded in the semantics of exoticism, primitivism, and savagery, which, in turn, have shored up Eurocentric cultural hegemonies, generated racialized thought, and cemented ‘naturalized’ Eurocentric cultural, political, and economic domination of subaltern people. Indigenous and postcolonial film directors and producers around the world have started to battle this politics of representation by creating a decolonized film discourse. Notably the last decade has seen an immense development in Indigenous and postcolonial feature film production which shows in the ever-growing Indigenous, African and other such film festivals.

This presentation will discuss the concept of decolonizing film discourses, before briefly outlining the diversified postcolonial filmmaking throughout the globe. It will then look in more detail at the films Stone Bros (dir. Richard Frankland, Australia, 2009), Birdwatchers (dir. Marco Bechis, Brazil, 2008), Johnny Tootall (dir. Shirley Cheechoo, Canada, 2005), and Maami (dir. Tunde Kelani, Nigeria 2011) and their decolonizing work. It will concentrate on the presentation of contemporary Indigenous and postcolonial life and cultural traditions, anti-colonial criticism as well as cinematic decolonizing strategies.

Bio: Kerstin Knopf holds an MA (1997) in American/Canadian, Hispanic and Scandinavian Studies, a PhD (2003) and a second PhD (Habilitation 2012) from the University of Greifswald in Germany. She studied and researched also in Los Angeles (USA), Gothenburg (Sweden), Regina, Ottawa and Toronto (Canada). She taught North American literature, film, and media in Greifswald, Rostock and Mainz and is now full professor for Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Bremen in Germany. Her main research interests are Indigenous film and literature worldwide, Postcolonial Studies focusing on North America, Australia, and Papua New Guinea, Settler Colonial Studies, African Diaspora Studies, American and Canadian romantic literature, and American prison literature. She published Decolonizing the Lens of Power: Indigenous Films in North America (Rodopi 2008), edited North America in the 21st Century: Tribal, Local, and Global (WVT 2011), Aboriginal Canada Revisited (U of Ottawa P, 2008), and other books.

To be followed by a Masterclass: “How to Read a Postcolonial Film?: Contexts, Methods, Concepts”.

HRDs and ECRs are particularly encouraged to attend 2–4pm in the LHA Research Hub 19.2072

Knopf – Flyer Final-1cnsz74

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