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Media Studies

Click to watch Evyn Le Espiritu '13 discuss her research project.

Sexual Visual Culture in the Contemporary United Kingdom

Jackson Brebnor (’12); Mentor: Jonathan Hall

Funding Provided by: Faucett Family Foundation

"May Bay" (Airplane): Transnationalism, History, and Memory

Evyn Le Espiritu ('13); Mentor: Jonathan Hall, Hung Cam Thai

Abstract:  “May Bay,” or “Airplane” in Vietnamese, is a twenty-six minute film that theorizes history, memory, and transnationalism, interweaving my Vietnamese grandmother’s story with my own second-generation Asian American narrative.  Based on a series of in-depth interviews with my grandmother—who was part of the massive exodus to the United States two days before the Fall of Saigon in 1975—and her relatives—who live in Vietnam as well as in California—this film is about the transgenerational transmission of stories.  In contrast to the official history of the war, “May Bay” focuses on the intimate and even painful memories—some of which remain untold—of those whose lives were shaped, but never defined, by the war.  Using old photographs, found footage, and filmic shots, I insert my grandmother’s narrative into this official history, finding within its nuances a story of my own.
Funding Provided by: Pomona College SURP Margo Okazawa-Rey Summer Fellowship (Intercollegiate Dept. of Asian American Studies) 

Texas in Film

Rebecca Potts ('12); Mentor: Jennifer Friedlander

Abstract:  My research studies Texas in the American imagination. Though Texans, both real and imaginary, believe Texas to be an indisputable identity—“there are two kinds of people: those who are Texans and those who wish they were”—the best Texas heroes either come from elsewhere or, having been raised a Texan, spend the majority of the film abroad: Davy Crockett, George Hansen and Leslie Benedict the former, Gus McCrae, Joe Buck, Bonnie and Clyde the latter. The unfixed nature of Texas stories allows universal access to what has been portrayed as an exclusive club of lone rangers, martyred heroes and rugged entrepreneurs. Texas serves as an American crossroads geographically and mythically—the South and the West; Comanche and Texan; Mexican and American; Cattle and Oil; NASA and the assassination of JFK. Texas represents the best and the worst of America, a history simultaneously desired and denied, the “other” within us.
Funding Provided by: Stonehill Media Studies Research Grant 

An Experiential Study In Live Music Culture

Luca Rojas ('12); Mentor: Kevin Dettmar

Abstract:  As one of the world’s leading centers for the performing arts, and with some of the most live entertainment venues per capita of any major city in the United States, New York City boasts an especially vibrant music scene. For my research project, I conducted an ethnomusicological study of that scene, with an emphasis on how outdoor concert programs throughout the New York Metropolitan area and the different public works foundations that helped to organize them contribute to the city’s live music culture during the summer. By concentrating on three summer concert series—Summerstage, Celebrate Brooklyn! and River To River—I also focused on the role of corporate sponsorship in the production of free concerts, and how live music events functioned as avenues for different companies to target specific demographics in their advertising strategies. Finally, I wrote reviews of the concerts themselves and published them on a blog in order to further develop my voice as a music writer.
Funding Provided by: Pomona College SURP  

Research at Pomona