Congratulations to Julia Brown for being awarded a Fulbright-García Robles Scholarship 2021-2022, with the project "From Screen to Society: Breaking the Silence on Discrimination with 1970s Mexican Cinema."
"From Screen to Society: Breaking the Silence on Discrimination with 1970s Mexican Cinema"
According to a 2018 study by the Mexican Government, 70% of Indigenous people in Mexico fall below the National poverty line. Until the 1970s, Mexico’s National Indigenista Institute tried to assimilate Indigenous communities to combat poverty rates. The assimilation project collapsed just as public approval for the single party system soured over a series of massacres carried out by the National Guard and government-backed militias. Mexican authors, histories, and filmmakers took stock of this breakdown and its impact on Mexico’s citizens. A few filmmakers shrewdly thought to focus on one sector of Mexico’s population: Indigenous communities. Their films underscored the causes and consequences of Indigenous poverty, the government’s failure to aid communities, and civilian complicity in Indigenous poverty. Today, surprisingly few Mexicans know about these 1970s films, which are only available at one or two archives in Mexico City. My Fulbright project has three objectives. The first is to investigate why these films went into obsolescence, whether due to financial challenges or censorship. The second is to understand the political risks the filmmakers took, since they used government funding to make films critical of the government. The third is publicly showcase this forgotten, humanitarian cinema, contextualizing it within my research findings, and to invite Mexican and U.S.-based spectators to consider these films in relation to national identity, Indigeneity, and systemic inequality.
Julia Brown is a Ph.D. Candidate in Hispanic Literatures. She has taught Spanish language, literature, and cinema courses and has served as an editorial assistant and managing editor for the academic journal Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos. Her research concerns Mexican and Bolivian Third Cinema and its dialectical relationship to indigenismo. She has published film reviews in Mediático and literary reviews in Chasqui and Revista de estudios hispánicos.
On Professor Sara Poot-Herrera