Participants & Abstracts
Emily Royse Green
Emily Green is a first year master's student of German and European Studies at Georgetown's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. Her selected concentration is "Critical Theory in European Culture and Politics." She spent a year in Austria on a Fulbright Scholarship studying at the University of Vienna and teaching English at two Gymnasiums. Emily holds a bachelor's degree in English and German from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Western Identity and Colonial Legacy in Contemporary Film: Resolving Contradictions through Complexity
Although Benedict Anderson's "Imagined Communities" has provided a useful platform for examining the formation of national identity, it falls short of providing a mode of cultural identification for the conflicted post-modern society of the contemporary West. We are now living in the space beyond - past feminism, past modernism, past colonialism - on the verge of chaos, in a moment of intense complexity and creativity. A comparative perspective of three relevant contemporary films-Steven Frears's "Dirty Pretty Things," Sophia Coppola's "Lost in Translation" and Sonja Heiss's "Hotel Very Welcome"-reveals the fractured remains of the "Orientalist" mindset and the extent to which the histories of migrants and refugees have been incorporated into the national identities of Britain, Germany, and America. These national identities converge into a broader, collective identity of the imagined "West." In the context of these three films, post-colonial theory from Homi Bhabha's The Location of Culture sheds light on the role of tourism, cultural interaction, and the subjugation of migrants in the formation and perpetuation of a "Western" identity. The old binaries of East and West, Orient and Occident break down in the moment of complexity as new patterns of coherence and interaction emerge.