photo: Masiel Acevedo
I'm a Brooklyn-born-and-raised historian and filmmaker working at the corner of public humanities and documentary art, which is where I've built Seven Local Film, in Jackson Heights, Queens, where I live.
April 10, 2020, Jackson Heights
I've taught in Brooklyn College's Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, Barnard, Columbia, NYU, and Yale, where, between 2002 and 2010, I was a professor of History (US-World Relations), Film, Latin American and American Studies, and where I received Yale's Poorvu Prize for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Instruction (for my course The Idea of the Western Hemisphere), its Graduate Mentorship Prize for the Humanities, and a McCredie Fellowship in Instructional Technology, which inadvertently facilitated my move from writing about audiovisual culture to making it.
photo: CB House
My travels from film historian to filmmaker generate my documentary practice. I did my undergraduate degree in history at Cornell University and my doctorate, also in history, at the University of Texas at Austin, where my dissertation, Hollywood and United States-Mexico Relations in the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema, won the Barnes Lathrop Prize. My published scholarship focuses on film, television, propaganda, and the history of the Americas across the Depression, Second World War, and the Cold War.
Between Neighborhoods (2018)
Small Kitchens (2023)
I am also at work on Our Neighborhood, a feature-length documentary that examines Washington's secret production of television propaganda for Latin America across the Sixties. Grants from the American Council of
Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities funded
its archival research and a year as a fellow in multimedia history at Harvard's Charles Warren Center supported its development.
poster: Don Calva
Just as my scholarship's analytic and expressive ambitions pushed me into documentary art, audiovisual experimentation has spawned new writing.
On video art's ability to expand the practice of history, I recently published "The East Village Detective: On Bill Morrison's Historical Poetics" in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Meanwhile, my work and life around Unisphere has prompted archive-derived transhistorical essays, written as well as videoed, about transnational NYC's present and past –– viewed from Queens.