“Going to the Show:
Reimagining the History of the Experience of Cinema”
Dr. Robert C. Allen ’72
Professor of History, Communication Studies, and American Studies
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
C. Shaw Smith 900 Room
Dr. Allen will share his research and digital publication project on the social experience of cinema in the state of North Carolina between 1896 and 1930. Supported by one of the first NEH Digital Humanities Fellowships, this project collaborates with two units of the special collections library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: the North Carolina Collection, and Documenting the American South—a digital library laboratory that creates, develops, and maintains online digital collections regarding the history of the American South drawn primarily from the outstanding archival holdings of the UNC library. He explores such questions as: How has experience of moviegoing been represented and what traces of those representations survive? How might those traces themselves be represented and manipulated in an interactive digital library? What aspects of the experience of moviegoing are highlighted in these representations and what aspects are obscured or remain unrepresentable regardless how much or what kind of “data” researchers might be able to deploy? Of particular interest is Dr. Allen’s exploration of similarities and differences in whites’ and blacks’ uses of the movie-going experience.
Dr. Allen, who was a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow in the University of Iowa’s American Civilization/American Cinema program, is the author of Horrible Prettiness: Burlesque and American Culture and Speaking of Soap Operas; the co-author of Film History: Theory and Practice; and the author of more than thirty scholarly articles and book chapters. His research and teaching interests include the history of American popular entertainment, cinema and media, cultural studies, and the history of the family. He has received research fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has also served as a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of Sydney. Dr. Allen is a fine speaker, a gifted teacher, an exceptional scholar, a genuinely good person, and a Davidson alumnus.
This presentation is sponsored by the Communication Studies program; the Ethnic Studies program; the Departments of History, Art, and English; and the Dean of Students’ Office, as well as the Film and Media Studies program.