My current research focuses on government films made in the mid-twentieth century American South. I am interested in how government sponsors—at the federal and state level—depicted gender and race for institutional aims during the later years of Jim Crow. Additionally, my work considers the significance of these films and their institutional contexts as they circulate in digital archives and new media spaces today.
In my ongoing book project, I analyze a hub of government film production in Georgia from the late 1940s to early 60s. State and federal interest in educational films about the South coalesced in Georgia during this period. Various agencies made films that tailored documentary images of rural communities in the state to fit instructional narratives of modernization anchored in racial segregation and gender respectability. These films promoted patriarchal white supremacy in a subtler form that has circulated with less attention and scrutiny compared to other images of the Jim Crow South. Their educational images of real people and places rendered hierarchical divisions of race and gender realistic and integral to institutional modernization in the segregated region. Reuses and reverberations of these midcentury images surface in a range of nonfiction media today.
“Bitter Tears and Pretty Excess in Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972) and Veronika Voss (1982).” Edinburgh German Yearbook 10: Queering German Culture. Rochester: Camden House, 2017.