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David M. J. Wood

Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

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Biographical Note

David Wood has researched and published on a range of topics within Latin American film, media and cultural studies, and is currently preparing a monograph on revolutionary indigenista filmmakers in the Andean region. He has been a postdoctoral research fellow at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and holds a PhD in Latin American Cultural Studies from King's College London. He has taught Film and Communication Studies and Latin American Studies in London and Mexico City.


Research Interests

My research interests are located within and between the fields of film theory, film history, (Latin American) cultural studies and critical theory. My research on Latin American film has dealt with the links between film and politics, social movements, social change and identity politics; indigenismo in cinema; cultural heritage; non-metropolitan film theory; film and postmodernism; and documentary theory. My research as a postdoctoral fellow at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México looks at the restoration, recycling and performance of silent film in Mexico, and deals with theoretical issues surrounding the film archive, and the role of cinema in the forging of historical imaginaries. I am also preparing a monograph on Andean political and indigenista filmmaking since the 1960s, which aims to show how theoretical paradigms such as Latin American "third cinema" and European thought and praxis on the politicisation of film language were harnessed to create a revolutionary filmic synthesis of European and Andean notions of social change.


My research will address the (co-)production and consumption within European cultural, political and commercial spheres of Latin American films and videos that harness, express or contest ethnic identities. It will study the ways in which such internationally-successful products as the 1940s Mexican nationalist-indigenista movies of Emilio "El Indio" Fernández, the Marxist-influenced films of the Bolivian Jorge Sanjinés and the Colombian Marta Rodríguez since the 1960s, and recent indigenous video projects, have been shaped, influenced, aided or hindered by the European production, exhibition and critical circuits into which they have been inserted. What are the practical, critical and theoretical repercussions of this "globalisation" of Latin American filmic discourses on race and of ethnic media politics? Do transnational networks serve the purely strategic purposes of fundraising and global visibility, or do they have an impact on metropolitan political and identity processes? Do they feed into existing, exoticising conceptions of racial and ethnic identities, or do they alter European imaginaries of Latin America?
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