Current Institutional Affiliation
Visiting Assistant Professor, Latin American and Latino Studies Program, University of Illinois / Chicago

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2009
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Indiana University / Bloomington
"8 Millimeters Versus 8 Million:" Superochero Cinema in Mexico City after 1968

This dissertation recounts the history and memory of urban youth and grassroots cinema in the immediate decades alter the state-sponsored massacre of student demonstrators at Tlatelolco on October 2, 1968-a day that many Mexicans claim changed everything. By focusing on the superocheros, a group of underground filmmakers from the country's largest university in Mexico City, this project examines how cinema became a powerful political and cultural tool after a moment of perceived rupture. The superocheros' aspirations to create a unique aesthetic that spoke to their experience meshed perfectly with the subversive potential of super-8 film-a format not taken seriously by the state and thus not censored as strictly as other forms of media and youth counterculture. Yet, like much of the grassroots culture and arts of the 1970s and 1980s, they were censored in another way-by derision and deliberate forgetting. Although these decades have been generally neglected in the historiography of Mexico, this dissertation shows that they were hardly insignificant. The films, lives, and memories of the superocheros exemplify what it meant to be Mexican and young at a time when the country seemed on the brink of an existential crisis. More than that, they reveal what a small group of youth saw, lived, longed for, and imagined. This longing was not the same as it had been in 1968; it more strongly reflected the shared memory and experience of youth optimism and disillusionment, a vulnerable national identity, debates over the influence of mass media and international counterculture, and the discourses and processes of modernity.