5538 - Indigeneity on the Screen in the Time of Diaspora

Indigeneity is often conceived as primarily connoting a long-standing rootedness in a particular place of origin in which territory, culture and language are allegedly congruent. This concept, however, is currently subject to acts of creative appropriation and transformation. Indigeneity is on the move due to factors such as new forms of mobility, migration and urbanization as well as a worldwide trend in legal reforms recognizing ethnic diversity. Creative cinematography in particular challenges essentialized notions of indigeneity and may emphasize precisely these mobilities, cultural creolization, as well as transnational and cosmopolitan identities. My paper explores the contribution of local and translocal filmmaking strategies which – in some cases being marked as indigenous, in others not – focus on culture as a source for making social and political claims. This applies to films dealing with migration between Mexico and the United States which constitute part of a media scene in Mexico that is currently known by the name “Video Indígena” or “Cine Indígena”. I will examine their representational strategies as well as those of films not marked as indigenous in the Americas in regard to their definitions of film subjects as indigenous or ethnic and simultaneously modern.

Keywords: indigeneity, filmmaking practices, migration, indigenous modernity

Author: Kummels, Ingrid (Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany / Deutschland)


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