Global Cinema Panel Discussion

Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy hosted a panel discussion to explore how film has been used as a tool in public diplomacy on Thursday, March 10, 2022. Film plays a vital role in the formation of opinions, positive and negative stereotypes, and cultural perceptions. In the United States, cinema has been used to influence countries towards an Americanized standard of living. Recent academia has seen a growing interest in how film has been utilized in the United States, China, India, and more.

To guide the conversation forward, Meridian invited panelists specializing in various areas of global cinema to speak to how it is a vehicle for soft power. Dr. Ross Melnick, professor of Film and Media Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara, moderated this discussion. His new book, Hollywood's Embassies: How Movie Theaters Projected American Power Around the World, shows how the entanglement of worldwide movie theaters with the American empire offers a new way of understanding film history and the history of U.S. soft power. The panel included Dr. Hye Seung Chung, a professor of film and media studies at Colorado State University who recently published a book, Hollywood Diplomacy: Film Regulation, Foreign Relations, and East Asian Representations, that examines Hollywood’s internal regulation, external government foreign relations, and how cinema built relationships through diplomatic representations of race, nationality, and ethnicity.

The panel also included Dr. Nitin Govil, an associate professor of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. His recently published book, Orienting Hollywood: A Century of Film Culture between Los Angeles and Bombay, examines the long history of social connections between Hollywood and Bombay cinema. Rounding out the panel was Dr. Laura Isabel Serna, author of Making Cinelandia: American Films and Mexican Film Culture before the Golden Age. Dr. Serna’s research explores the impact American film has on Mexican audiences and how the film industry influenced Mexican migration.

Learn more about the speakers here.


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This is Public Program from the Global Humanities Initiative. Learn more about the Global Humanities Initiative here. 

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