Understanding Film and Media Cultures in a Digital World

Understanding Film and Media Cultures in a Digital World

This interdisciplinary, international group stems out the growing collaboration between Film Studies scholars at Queen’s University Belfast and scholars who teach and research in foreign languages at Vanderbilt University, but it hopes to attract the interest of other HASTAC members across the ocean(s). It aims at exploring a vast range of issues concerning researching and teaching film and media in an era of an entirely globalized and networked culture.

The group focuses on the intersections between theoretical scholarship on the impact of digital technologies on film and media cultures and with practical questions regarding teaching and learning foreign languages using digital media. While studies on digital media have boomed in the two last decades, and despite an ever-increasing push towards introducing new tools and approaches into the classroom, we feel the need to engage in a collective reflection on how we can best apply these bodies of knowledge in our practice, merging two apparently different fields of inquiry into a broader perspective.

The starting point of our exploration cannot must be the acknowledgement of the dramatically, and constantly, changing ways in which students get in touch with digital media from around the world. The immediate availability of an infinity of cultural artifacts that embody the transnational and cross-cultural nature of virtually everything in the contemporary context forces us to rethink the way in which we ask students to approach the study of foreign languages as well as of film and media. How can we stimulate their curiosity towards other cultures through the use of online materials, tools and resources? How can we facilitate their critical engagement with these objects? How can we relate the unlimited availability of contemporary works to the theory and history we want to the students to engage with? How can we take advantage of the Internet, to ask students to independently choose their own subjects of study? How can we use the Internet to go beyond the analysis of single texts, replicating/reflecting on the students’ everyday, web-based, transtextual and contextualized cultural experience?

The group’s research questions thus strongly echo two key topics highlighted in the HASTAC scholar program (https://www.hastac.org/initiatives/hastac-scholars/about-hastac-scholars...):

·     “How do we use technologies in our teaching & learning, not only to replace traditional media and assignments, but to fundamentally address different student approaches, needs, and possibilities afforded by new ways of thinking?”

·     “How do we work across and transform our own disciplines and fields?”

The ultimate goal of our activity is to share a new knowledge basis for teaching and learning through and about digital materials in the fields of film, media and foreign languages studies.



The project leaders of this group include:

Dr. Stefano Baschiera (Queen's University Belfast)

Dr. Federico Pagello (Queen's University Belfast)

Dr. Todd Hughes (Vanderbilt University)

Dr. Lynn Ramey (Vanderbilt University)


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