The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU and Cinema Tropical presents a conversation with film director Trisha Ziff (OAXACALIFORNIA: The Return) and Maria Josefina Saldaña-Portillo (NYU CLACS) on the complexities of multigenerational immigrant identities in the United States.
OAXACALIFORNIA: The Return is made available to stream from November 1-8, 2021. This opportunity is exclusively for NYU students, faculty, and staff. Please sign up and access the film here.
About the Speakers:
Trisha Ziff (Director), has worked for the last twenty-five years in photography as a writer, editor, curator and documentary filmmaker. Her first film as producer/writer was Oaxacalifornia (US/UK, 1995). In 2008, Ziff co-directed Chevolution, her opera prima for Netflix/Red Envelope, with Luis Lopez. Other credits include director and producer of The Mexican Suitcase (Mexico/Spain, 2011); Pirate Stories (2014), a series of shorts in filmed in London, Palestine, Dubai and Mexico City; The Man Who Saw Too Much (2015) winner of Best Documentary and Best Score at the Mexican Academy Awards, Best Documentary at Monterrey International Film Festival, and the Press Award at Morelia Film Festival; Witkin & Witkin (2018), nominated for a Mexican Academy Award; and Oaxacalifornia: The Return (2020). Ziff is now in development on The Battle For History: Gerry Adams; Bridget’s Story, the story of a woman in the fast food industry; and Frida’s Gaze (2023), tracing the narrative of Fridamania. She teaches film and media studies and guest lectures at various universities in the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. Her work has been supported by organizations including National Endowment for the Humanities, Sundance Institute, California Humanities, IMCINE & EFICINE in Mexico, Ibermedia and the Irish Film Board.
María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo (Moderator) is a Professor with the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU. Her book, Indian Given: Racial Geographies across Mexico and the United States (Duke UP 2016), received the 2017 John Hope Franklin Book prize for the most outstanding book published in American Studies, as well as the 2017 NACCS Book Award for an outstanding book in Chicana & Chicano Studies. Indian Given compares racial formation in Mexico and the U.S. from the colonial period to the present through historical, discursive, and textual analysis. In 2015, Saldaña-Portillo co-edited Des/posesión: Género, territorio, y luchas por la autodeterminación with Marisa Belausteguigoitia Rius on indigenous women's leadership roles in the global struggle to defend their territories (UNAM).
In her first book, The Revolutionary Imagination in the Americas and the Age of Development, Saldaña-Portillo analyzed the discursive complicity between Central American and Mexican revolutionary movements and economic development discourse to elucidate the failure of these movements to understand their constituencies (Duke 2003). She has published over twenty-five articles in U.S. and Latin America on revolutionary subjectivity, subaltern politics, indigenous peoples, racial formation, migration, and Latin American and Latino cultural studies. She is currently working on her next monograph, NAFTA, Narcos, and Migration: How Free Trade Brought Us the Drug Economy and Its Refugees, which investigates multiple connections between free trade and the drug trade that have flourished in the aftermath of the North American Free Trade Accord in 1994; the last twenty years of U.S. deportation policy and its impact on Central America; and the contradictions between liberal citizenship and refugee policy in the era of globalization. This includes an exploration of the integral role that gendered labor and gender violence play in drug trafficking and narco economies of value. She is also Chairwoman of Coalición Mexicana, a New York City immigrant rights organization, and a volunteer and expert witness for Central American asylum cases with immigration legal aid agencies internationally.
CineTropiCLACS is a joint endeavor of CLACS and Cinema Tropical that builds on over a decade of collaborative programming to bring together screenings of recent, critically-acclaimed films and insightful conversations with directors and members of NYU’s academic community to reflect on the nuances of the U.S. Latinx and Latin American experience.