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Celebrating Ana M. López: Essays

June 07, 2023 9:30 AM
Olivia Cosentino

Celebrating Ana M. López: Essays

Pictured from left to right: Christina Sisk, Gabriela Aleman, Tanya Goldman, Misha MacLaird, Susanne Hackett, Victoria Ruétalo, Olivia Cosentino, Dolores Tierney, Mónica García Blizzard, Laura Podalsky, and María Cumaná gather during the reception.


On May 12, 2023, scholars, colleagues, and former students came together to celebrate the recent publication of Ana M. López: Essays (SUNY Press, 2023), the first collection to gather Ana M. López’s field-establishing essays on Latin American cinema. Co-edited, curated, and introduced by López’s doctoral students, Laura Podalsky (Ph.D. 1995) and Dolores Tierney (Ph.D. 2002), the collection of twenty-five essays is a welcome and indispensable volume for students and professors alike.  

López, widely known at Tulane as a Professor of Communication, the Director of the Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute, and Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, is renowned beyond Tulane for being a founder and trailblazer of Latin American film and media studies. Her impact on shaping approaches, theoretical frameworks, and objects of study in Latin American cinema, radio, television, and other media is unmatched.  

The hybrid event, which opened with remarks from Tom Reese, Vicki Mayer, and Chris Dunn as well as co-editors Podalsky and Tierney, featured two panels. The event was recorded and is available for viewing through the links below.

The first panel, López and Latin American Film Studies, charted the influence of López on recent scholarship in Latin American film studies. Panelists Misha MacLaird, Gabriela Alemán, María Cumaná, Olivia Cosentino, and Juani García Borrero discussed key essays from López, including “Tears and Desire: Women and Melodrama in the ‘Old’ Mexican Cinema,” “Calling for Intermediality: Latin American Mediascapes,” and “Crossing Nations and Genres: Traveling Filmmakers,” which laid the groundwork for their own research today.  

The second panel, a roundtable on López’s Work in the Classroom, featured interventions from Cristina Venegas, Victoria Ruétalo, and Christina Sisk who explained how López’s scholarship is requisite for any Latin American or Latinx film and culture syllabus, both because of its aerial perspective of the field and because it models excellence in research and writing practices.  

Attendees shared the ways that López’s generosity – intellectually, professionally, and interpersonally – had affected their own trajectories. Tanya Goldman, Visiting Assistant Professor, Cinema Studies, Bowdoin College, notes, “As a teacher, I've had the opportunity to assign 'Early Cinema and Modernity in Latin America' within my international cinema survey courses. I find this essay invaluable in the way that it foregrounds the historical context of cinema's 'arrival' in the region; for American students, in particular, it empowers them to appreciate the unequal transmission of technologies and consider the infrastructural conditions (such as electricity) that allows cinema 'to happen.' In this, I wish to assert that Ana's influence transcends 'Latin American film studies;' it is an essay that shapes Film Studies as an entire discipline. Full stop.” 

The event concluded with a reception and the debut of two short videos. In the first, Ana López speaks about her own career trajectory and interactions with the Stone Center. The second video previews a conversation between López, Podalsky, and Daniel Balderston from October 2022, recorded as part of our ongoing Centennial Project, discussing the turn toward cultural and film studies at Tulane in the 1990s and 2000s.

Note from the Organizers:

If you would like to share any comments regarding how Ana López’s scholarship and mentorship has impacted your own research, teaching, and career or how it has shaped the field of Latin American film studies in general. These comments will be shared with Ana and maintained as part of the Stone Center's archive of institutional history. Please fill out this form