This presentation is based on Janzen’s recent book Unholy Trinity: State, Church and Film in Mexico, which argues that the sustained use of religious imagery is a way that Mexican films communicate social and political commentary to their audiences in a simple straightforward way. She gives an overview of how films from the Golden Age of Mexican film (early-mid 20th century), onwards, represent religious spaces, leaders, and symbols, to criticize confining gender roles, political leaders, and corruption within the Catholic Church. Then the presentation turns to Dana Rotberg’s 1992 film, Ángel de fuego, and describes how its representation of unique religious practices, which blend evangelical, Indigenous and Jewish religious ideas, symbols and sacred texts, to comment on growing inequality and economic devastation in Mexico in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
November 5, 2021, COED 434, 11:30-1:00pm & 2:00-3:30pm
About the Guest Speaker:
Rebecca Janzen is Associate Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. She is a scholar of gender, disability and religious studies in Mexican literature and culture whose research focuses on excluded populations in Mexico. Her first book, The National Body in Mexican Literature: Collective Challenges to Biopolitical Control (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2015), explored images of disability and illness in 20th century texts. Her second book, Liminal Sovereignty: Mennonites and Mormons in Mexican Culture (SUNY, 2018), focused on religious minorities. Unholy Trinity: State, Church and Film in Mexico (SUNY, 2021) deals with film and religion in Mexico, and Unlawful Violence: Law and Cultural Production in 21st Century Mexico (forthcoming, Vanderbilt, 2022), is about human rights, law, and literature. The Plett Foundation, the Kreider Fellowship at Elizabethtown College, the C Henry Smith Peace Trust and the Newberry library in Chicago have supported her research.
Rebecca Janzen es profesora asociada de español y literatura comparada en la University of South Carolina en Columbia. Estudia género, discapacidad y religión en México, sobre todo con relación a grupos marginalizados. Su primer libro, The National Body in Mexican Literature: Collective Challenges to Biopolitical Control (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2015), explore imágenes de la discapacidad en novelas y cuentos del siglo XX. Su segundo libro, Liminal Sovereignty: Mennonites and Mormons in Mexican Culture (SUNY, 2018), se enfoca en los menonitas y mormones y Unholy Trinity: State, Church and Film in Mexico (SUNY, 2021), se enfoca en la religión y el cine en México y Unlawful Violence: Law and Cultural Production in 21st Century Mexico (Vanderbilt, 2022), trata temas de derechos humanos, ley y literatura. La Fundación Plett, la biblioteca Newberry, la beca Kreider y la beca C Henry Smith han apoyado su investigación.