Maria Bose is an assistant professor of media and cultural studies in the English department at Clemson University, where she also teaches in the World Cinema Program. Her book-in-progress, Cinema’s Hegemony, surveys twenty-first century imperial films emanating from the production centers of rising hegemons (China, India) and falling ones (the U.S., the U.K.). Maria’s essays have appeared in Studies in American Fiction, Textual Practice, Criticism, C21 Literature, and Critique. She currently serves as treasurer and board member for the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (ASAP.)
Cinema’s Hegemony: Imperial and cinematic futures at the start of the Asian century
This paper argues that cinema in the twenty-first century maintains cultural primacy in part because it remains a privileged site for the articulation of state power—and that cinema retains this privilege in part because of the self-consciousness and sophistication with which twenty-first century nationalist genres renew cinema’s material and ideological compacts with the hegemonic state. That renewal unfolds contrary to critical truism: rather than extend cinema’s didactic function as an “ideological state apparatus” charged with projecting the nation-state’s strengths and ideals, genres of twenty-first century nationalist film—from patriotic melodrama to wartime epic to superhero action-thriller—offer remarkably complex historical diagnoses of states’ developmental weaknesses and ideological incoherencies at a transitional moment of hegemonic rebalancing, as declining Western powers (the U.S., the U.K.) face the unravelling of neoliberal-imperialist agendas while rising state actors in Asia (China, India) strive for positions of greater centrality within the global political economy.
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