Rocha represents SIUE in England as Fulbright Fellow

Foreign languages professor Carolina Rocha has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in Liverpool, England, to write about Argentine cinema.

Foreign languages professor Carolina Rocha stands outside her office at the University of Liverpool in England where she is researching Argentine cinema as a Fulbright Fellow. Photo courtesy of Rocha

Rocha said she is “very excited” about spending the semester at the University of Liverpool writing about films.

“This fellowship gives me the opportunity to reach a broader audience for my research, to be in contact with different presses where to publish my manuscript and enriches me by learning from the colleagues here,” Rocha said.

She will also participate in a symposium in October at the University of Leicester in Leicester, England.

According to the program’s website, the Fulbright program “is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”  It offers grants “to study, teach and conduct research for U.S. citizens to go abroad and for non-U.S. citizens to come to the United States.”

Rocha said the program is a “huge point of pride” for SIUE and the University of Liverpool as the award is “very prestigious.”

“It is speaks of the quality of research done in both institutions, which crosses borders,” Rocha said.

Examining materials gathered in Argentina and at the University of Florida, Rocha will study techniques used in films, interviews with actors and editorial pieces about films.

The time abroad coincides with Rocha’s sabbatical to write a chapter of her book on her native country’s filmmaking during the 1960s and 1970s.

According to Rocha, the era was “turbulent” within Argentina. Fears of communism spread from Cuba, and the armed forces, led by General Juan Carlos Ongania, controlled institutions that funded films.

“When there is a dictatorship, there is a censorship,” Rocha said. “Filmmakers were constrained by censorship.”

Rocha will study the intersection of film history and ideas of nationalism, which she said helped to deliver how to be Argentine during turbulent times.

“Sometimes in film we see what we are as society and it affects a nation’s identity,” Rocha said.

According to Rocha, the films she will write about were not overtly political but popular.

“Even when you’re not being political, you are being political,” Rocha said.  “One of the things I will be looking into is why film X was more popular that film Z–why these films were attractive to people who were not over-politicized,” Rocha said.

To do this, Rocha will work with English professor Lisa Shaw who specializes in Brazilian popular culture at the University of Liverpool and other colleagues who teach cinema.

According to Rocha, advanced foreign language classes at SIUE are related to what people do with language, literature and film and she plans to use the knowledge from her research in the classroom.

“The 1960s and 1970s are decades that saw many important events around the world and in Latin America,” Rocha said. “I hope I will be able to interest students in the cinema produced during these crucial decades.”

Aldemaro Romero, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said Rocha’s research as a Fulbright Fellow is great and “shows the quality and the depth of our faculty.”

“Her area of specialization is particularly important because it covers an area we haven’t had in the past year…that Fulbright basically exemplifies the type of research we’re encouraging the faculty to do,” Romero said.




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