Catherine L. Benamou

Picture of Catherine L. Benamou
Professor, Film & Media Studies
School of Humanities
Affiliated Faculty, Gender and Sexuality Studies
School of Humanities
Affiliated Faculty, Chicano/Latino Studies
School of Social Sciences
Graduate Emphasis Faculty, Latin American Studies
School of Humanities
Ph.D., New York University, 1997, Cinema Studies
Fax: (949) 824-2464
University of California, Irvine
2000 Humanities Gateway
Film and Media Studies Department
Mail Code: 2435
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Latin American, Latinx, and Post-Colonial Francophone and Lusophone Cinema and Television, Transnational Media Flows & Diasporic Audiences, authorial itineraries (Orson Welles & Raúl Ruiz), Media Ethnography & Historiography, media and social justice
Academic Distinctions
Closing Keynote Address, Brazilian Society of Cinema and Audiovisual Studies (SOCINE), Campinas, Brazil, October, 2015

National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowship, "We the People Initiative," 2010-11

Honorable Mention, Dissertation Award, Society for Cinema Studies (1998)

Smithsonian Institution Award in Recognition of Special Achievement Reflecting a High Standard of Accomplishment (1996)
Research Abstract
My research and teaching have been primarily hemispheric and transatlantic in scope, and generally focused on the politics and aesthetics of inter-American representation, transnational authorship, and the formation of gendered and migrant subjectivity in dynamic relation to national and globalizing media industries, circuits, and practices. In terms of national cinemas, I teach and have written about cinema and media originating from Brazil, Chile, the Hispanophone Caribbean, Mexico, and the multiethnic United States. Most recently, I have been interested in how links to the public sphere are being created for and by marginalized groups and communities in cities, which is at the center of my current project on Spanish-language television and the pursuit of social justice, being carried out in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Last year I published a book based on a multi-method, longitudinal study on the reciprocal impact of the transnational transmission of television on diasporic Latinx communities titled Transnational Television and Latinx Diasporic Audiences: Abrazos Electrónicos in Four Global Cities (Palgrave-Macmillan). In the book, I explore and compare urban mediascapes, the emergence of barrio tv, together with processes of viewer enfranchisement and transculturation in public spaces. I have also been engaged in critical reception research as part of Latin American Studies in Motion (UCHRI, CAL Humanities). I continue to work on the preservation and cultural legacy of IT'S ALL TRUE, a film project undertaken by Orson Welles during the "Good Neighbor" policy, as well as on articles devoted to documentary cinema, competing claims placed on latinidad in the U.S. media, and historical thresholds in inter-American representation. My objects of inquiry range from photographs to 35mm films to television, independent video, and media installations.
Awards and Honors
Honorable mention, Society for Cinema and Media Studies Ph.D. dissertation award.
Short Biography
After obtaining my Ph.D., I taught film and media studies in dynamic relation to transatlantic studies, Chicano-Latino Studies, Spanish and Portuguese, and Latin American Studies at Duke University and the University of Michigan, prior to arriving at the University of California-Irvine. Field and archival research in connection with my first book (It's All True: Orson Welles's Pan-American Odyssey, UC Press, 2007) contributed to the formation of the Orson Welles collections at the University of Michigan Special Collections Library, where I continue to serve as pro-bono consultant. I conducted field research for my second book (Transnational Television and Its Diasporic Latinx Audiences, Abrazos Electronicos in Four Global Cities, 2022) in Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami and Madrid from 2005 to 2018. I have also remained active in collaborative projects involving media preservation and exhibition, most recently, Latin American Studies in Motion: Sustainable Cinema through UCI's Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
Transnational Television and Latinx Diasporic Audiences: Abrazos Electrónicos in Four Global Cities (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2022)
IT'S ALL TRUE: ORSON WELLES'S PAN-AMERICAN ODYSSEY (University of California Press, 2007)
Spanish-language Television and Diaspora in Detroit and Los Angeles: Towards Media Enfranchisement, Television and New Media, July 2022, 1-20 DOI 10.1177/15274764221098067
Book review, Talking #browntv: Latinas and Latinos on the Screen, by Frederick Louis Aldama and William Nericcio, Pacific Historical Review 91/1 (Winter): 146-148.
Book review, Against Amnesia: Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America, by María Hinojosa, Mediático journal 9 December 2021
"Getting to the Heights: The Latinx Neighborhood at Work and at Play in Jon M. Chu's and Lin Manuel-Miranda's New Musical" MEDIAPOLIS 6/4 (September 2021)
Vidas Abundantes em Terreno Difícil, Reflections on the Loss of Nelson Pereira dos Santos and Maria do Carmo de Souza, MEDIATICO (Sussex, England), 20 August 2018,
"Orson Welles's Itineraries in IT'S ALL TRUE: From 'Lived Topography' to Pan-American Transculturation." In ORSON WELLES IN FOCUS: TEXTS & CONTEXTS, ed. James Gilmore and Sidney Gottlieb (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2018)
"Inter-auteurial Itineraries and the Regeneration of Transnational Art Cinema: Raúl Ruiz and Orson Welles," in RAÚL RUIZ: A CINEMA OF INQUIRY, ed. Andreea Marinescu and Ignácio López-Vicuña (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2017)
"An Interrupted Dialogue: New York, December 9-10, 1989," in RAÚL RUIZ: A CINEMA OF INQUIRY, ed. Andreea Marinescu and Ignácio López-Vicuña (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2017)
"Reverse Angle/Contracampo: Latin American Filmmakers Envision Hollywood (and Los Angeles)," in FROM LATIN AMERICA TO HOLLYWOOD: LATINO FILM CULTURE IN LOS ANGELES, 1967-2017, ed. Lourdes Portillo and Ellen M. Harrington, 93-109 (Beverly Hills: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 2017)
"LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE, from Novel to Film," in BOOKS TO FILM vol. I, ed. Barry Grant (Farmington, MI: Cengage Learning, Inc., 2017)
Book Review, La Tristeza de los Tigres y los Misterios de Raúl Ruiz, by Verónica Cortínez and Manfred Engelbert (Santiago: Cuarto Propio, 2011), BULLETIN OF LATIN AMERICAN RESEARCH 35/4 (October, 2016): 513-15
"(Dis)Affection and Recognition in Millennial Urban Melodrama: Transnational Perspectives by Women Filmmakers," REBECA 4/7 (January-June, 2015): 51-71.
"Citizen Kane," OXFORD BIBLIOGRAPHIES online, in "Cinema and Media Studies," ed. Krin Gabbard, updated 26 October 2015
Book review, CINEMA AND INTER-AMERICAN RELATIONS, TRACKING TRANSNATIONAL AFFECT, by Adrian Perez Melgosa (Routledge, 2012), in CINEMA JOURNAL 54/1 (2014): 156-161.
"Cloud of Indeterminacy," WIDE ANGLE 17 (Spring, 1996): 327-30, republished online, October 9, 2014
with Bienvenida Matias, "Remembering 'Punto de Vista: Latina' in Two Voices,"CAMERA OBSCURA 82 (Spring, 2013): 134-45
with Leslie Louise Marsh, "Women Filmmakers and Citizenship in Brazil, from Bossa Nova to the retomada," In HISPANOPHONE AND LUSOPHONE WOMEN FILMMAKERS: THEORY, PRACTICE AND DIFFERENCE, edited by Parvati Nair and Julián Daniel Gutiérrez-Albilla, 52-71. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 2013.
"Dual-Engined Diplomacy: Walt Disney, Orson Welles, and Pan-American Film Policy During World War II." In Gisela Cramer/Ursula Prutsch, eds. ¡Américas Unidas! Nelson A. Rockefeller's Office of Inter-American Affairs (1940-46) (Frankfurt: Iberoamericana-Vervuert, 2012), 107-141.
Review, "Andrea Geyer: Criminal Case 40/61: Reverb," X-TRA 13/4 (Summer 2011): 34-41.
"Televisual Melodrama in an Era of Transnational Migration: Exporting the Folkloric Nation, Harvesting the Melancholic-Sublime," 129-171 in Darlene J. Sadlier, ed., LATIN AMERICAN MELODRAMA: PASSION, PATHOS, AND ENTERTAINMENT (University of Illinois Press, 2009)
"Mediating the Public Sphere in Latina/o Detroit: Heart and Margin of an Embattled Metropolis," 88-104 in Richard Young and Amanda Holmes, eds., CULTURES OF THE CITY: MEDIATING IDENTITIES URBAN LATIN/O AMERICA (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010)
"'Everybody's Orson Welles:' Treasures from the Special Collections Library at the University of Michigan," in MICHIGAN QUARTERLY REVIEW 48/2 (Spring 2009): 187-97, 201-27.
"A Portfolio of Graphics," MICHIGAN QUARTERLY REVIEW XLVIII/2 (Spring 2009): 230-34 [in accompaniment to Everybody's Orson Welles]
"Con amor, tequila, y gasolina: Lola the Truckdriver and Screen Resistance in Border Cinema (Cine Fronterizo)," 171-84 in Victoria Ruétalo and Dolores Tierney, eds., LATSPLOITATION: LATIN AMERICAN EXPLOITATION CINEMAS (Routledge, 2009)
"Realism as Artifice and the Lure of the Real in Orson Welles's F FOR FAKE (1973) and Other T(r)eas(u)ers," 143-70 in Alexandra Juhasz and Jesse Lerner, eds., F IS FOR PHONY: FAKE DOCUMENTARIES AND TRUTH'S UNDOING (University of Minnesota Press, 2006)
with Lucia Saks, "Circumatlantic Media Migrations," 150-65 in Jonathan Rosenbaum and Adrian Martin, eds., MOVIE MUTATIONS: THE CHANGING FACE OF WORLD CINEPHILIA (British Film Institute, 2003)
"Cuban Cinema: On the Threshold of Gender," 68-97 in Diana Robin and Ira Jaffe, eds., REDIRECTING THE GAZE: THIRD WORLD WOMEN FILMMAKERS (SUNY Press, 1999)
"'Those Earrings, That Accent, That Hair': A Dialogue with Maria Hinojosa on Latino/as and the Media," 325-356 in Ella Shohat, ed., TALKING VISIONS: MULTICULTURAL FEMINISM IN A TRANSNATIONAL AGE (New Museum of Contemporary Art; MIT Press, 1998)
Sisters Grant, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan, 2007-2008
Cultural Diversity Studies Grant, Academic Senate Council on Research, Computing and Libraries (CORCL) 2009-2010
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2010-11
Special Research Grant, Academic Senate Council on Research, Computing and Libraries (CORCl), UC-Irvine, 2010-11
Engaging Humanities, UCHRI, 2016-17
UCI Advance Career Development Award, 2016-2017
Cal Humanities, Humanities for All (for LASC), 2017-2020
Multi-Campus Working Group, "Democracy, Spatiality, and Subjectivity," UCHRI, 2010-2011
Professional Societies
Society for Cinema and Media Studies
Latin American Studies Association
SOCINE (Brazil)
National Association of Latino Producers
International Communication Association
Phi Beta Kappa
Urban Affairs Association
Popular Culture Association
Visible Evidence
Other Experience
Guest Curator & Consultant (pro-bono)
Orson Welles Archive, Special Collections Library, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 2004—pres
Consultant (pro-bono), Archival Preservation of Footage from Orson Welles's IT'S ALL TRUE
UCLA Film and Television Archive 2000—pres
Associate Producer & Senior Research Executive
Editorial Board Member
FRAMEWORK film and media journal 2005—pres
Editorial Board Member
DOC online (Brazilian/Portuguese e-journal of documentary criticism) 2004—pres
Editorial Board Member
Revista Brasileira de Estudos de Cinema e Audiovisual (REBECA) 2010—pres
Editorial Board
Catalán Journal of Communication & Cultural Studies 2012—pres
Film Studies Section, Latin American Studies Association 2012—2013
Member, Editorial Board
Mediático (online media journal) 2014—pres
Film and Video Center, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution 1993—1997
Advisory Committee, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, From Latin America to Hollywood: Latino Film Culture in Los Angeles, 1967-2017
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Getty Foundation 2014—2017
Graduate Programs
Culture and Theory
Film and Media studies
Research Centers
UCI Shakespeare Center
Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center
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