The following book reviews emerged from “Orienting Europe,” a graduate seminar led by Deniz Göktürk at the University of California, Berkeley, in Fall 2011. The seminar analyzed constructions of Europe in moving-image media, with a particular focus on migration and mobility, practices of orientation, modes of spectatorship, and public formations. Screenings ranged from early actuality films to contemporary video art, and provided a basis for discussions of how moving-image media have envisaged, shaped, and questioned a European imaginary since the late nineteenth century.
Discussions were informed by texts that offer ways of imagining Europe as a heterogeneous space shaped by migration, shifting border zones, and practices of memorialization. Seminar participants engaged with theories of postcolonialism, cosmopolitanism, and globalization; debates in Film and Media Studies on transnational cinema, spectatorship, and digital media; and key texts in studies of Europe, memory, and migration. Film discussions were enriched by contextualizing research on funding schemes, sites of participation, and networks of circulation, especially with regard to multinational co-productions, film festivals, and biennials. The seminar also expanded its scope to consider tourism, heritage preservation, and urban restructuring; case studies included EU and UNESCO policy papers, the European Capitals of Culture program, and the Eurovision Song Contest.
The seminar, which included UC Berkeley graduate students and visiting scholars, provided a forum for participants to pursue emerging and ongoing projects. The present issue ofTRANSIT is featuring three participants’ reviews of recent books on European cinema and on mobility, migration, and diaspora. In June 2012, several seminar participants presented their research in a panel at the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies Conference in Lisbon.
—Deniz Göktürk & Nicholas Baer
Interkultur, by Mark Terkessidis
Reviewed by Isabel Dzierson
Tracking Europe: Mobility, Diaspora, and the Politics of Location, by Ginette Verstraete
Reviewed by Alex Lambrow