Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute

Tulane University

Geographical Imaginaries Conference Held at Tulane

November 17th, 2009

From November 4th through the 6th, with the support of Tulane University and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, the “Geographical Imaginaries and Hispanic Film” conference was held in New Orleans. Itself a paradigmatic space of cultural flows, connections and exchanges, a territory whose history and identity have been shaped and determined by travel and geographic imaginations, New Orleans drew scholars from both North and South America as well as Europe and the Caribbean to join together to examine the crossings and interrogations of geographical borders in Spanish, Latin American and U.S. Latino cinema.


Tulane Associate Professor and Associate Provost Ana López and conference participants from Colombia, Francisco Montaña and Cira Gómez

Conference participants spoke on diverse topics of space in Hispanic Cinema from urban cartographies and televisual frontiers to memory, myth, modernity and politics in global, transnational and local spaces, those that are concrete as well as imagined. Issues of gender and sexuality and Diaspora and borders were discussed alongside technical and visual aspects of this cinema. Conference participants spoke extremely highly of their experience in New Orleans following the completion of the event. One conference participant wrote that “Geographical Imaginaries” was “simply one of the best professional gatherings I have attended in years. From a human point-of-view, countless people commented to me how warm and friendly and well-organized the event was.” Another participant noted after the conference the he wished to thank Tulane’s organizational committee for “la perfecta organización y la estupenda ocasión de sostener un diálogo intelectual bajo condiciones ideales. Mi experiencia fue muy buena” (the perfect organization of the conference and the exciting ability to hold an intellectual dialogue in the most ideal of circumstances. My experience was wonderful.)


Conference participants enjoy the lecture by Professor Alberto Elena

The plenary speaker for the conference was Professor Alberto Elena of the Universidad Carlos III, Madrid, a renowned scholar of cinemas from the South, and editor of Secuencias: Revista de Historia del Cine and co-editor of Tierra en trance: el cine latinoamericano en cien películas and The Cinema of Latin America. Professor Elena’s lecture, “Asuntos de familia: política y poética de las coproducciones,” focused on family issues, politics and the poetics of co-productions. It engendered stimulating conversation and discussion and was extremely well-received by both conference participants and attendees who gathered at the New Orleans Marriott at the Convention Center for the duration of the conference.


Conference participants mingle at the New Orleans Marriott

In addition to panel discussions, the conference included film screenings, the majority of which were newly-released Spanish, Latin American and U.S. Latino films including:

  • Los dioses rotos (2008) – Cuba/Mexico
  • Los viajes del viento (2009) – Colombia
  • Chicos normales (2008) – Spain
  • El General (2009) – U.S.
  • Documental Histórico: un imaginario cinematográfico de España – Spain
  • Lejos de los árboles (1972) – Spain
  • Raza (2008) – Cuba
  • Paying the Price (2008) – Mexico
  • Martí and I (2009) – U.S.
  • Siete mesas de billar francés (2007) – Spain
  • Araya (1959) – Venezuela
  • Real Sucio Habana (2009) – Cuba/Argentina/U.S.
  • Amar en tiempos revueltos (2005) – Spain
  • Mayan Film Program (4 short films)

Brief Film Overviews

This conference was made possible through the generous support of Tulane University, the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, Tulane’s Department of Spanish & Portuguese, the Newcomb College Institute, WMM (Women Make Movies), The Global Film Initiative, the Ministry of Culture Spain, the Program for Cultural Cooperation with American Universities, Milestone, the Silverstein Fund, Film Studies Program, and the Center for Scholars.

To view more pictures of the event, please visit the Stone Center’s Flickr page.