Communication studies professor Jennifer Gauthier has traveled extensively this fall, visiting and lecturing at various institutions and events across the nation and the world.
On October 30, Gauthier was invited to the College of William & Mary to give a talk to students and faculty as part of a speaker series organized by the Native American Resource Center, Native Studies, Anthropology, American Studies, and Asian and Pacific Islander American Studies (APIA). Her presentation was titled “Native Pacific Islander Cinema and the Ethics of Cinematic Sovereignty.”
Since their annexation by the United States government in 1898, the Hawaiian Islands have been a site of contestation over native culture and sovereignty. Beginning in the 1970s, Kanaka Maoli launched demonstrations and interventions to protect Native land and culture. More recently, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders have turned to the medium of cinema to assert a distinct Kanaka Maoli identity and preserve their culture.
In her remarks, Gauther examined the work of Vilsoni Hereniko, Erin Lau, and Ciara Lacy, who are making films in the service of native sovereignty. With this political goal in mind, she traced three guiding principles that structure their work: valuing the culture, honoring the people, and celebrating the land.
In addition to her presentation at William & Mary, she will also give a guest lecture at the University of Strasbourg, France, on November 9. The seminar is entitled, “Transcending Borders and Crossing the Sea: Native Cinema in the Pacific Islands and is part of the Knowledge in the Anglophone Area: Representations, Culture, History research unit at the university.
Besides her public appearances, Gauthier also contributed a chapter to the book, True Event Adaptation: Scripting Real Lives, edited by Davinia Thornley of the University of Otaga, New Zealand, and published by Palgrave Studies in Adaptation and Visual Culture. Gauthier’s chapter is entitled “Making it ‘Real’/’Reel’: Truth, Trauma, and American Exceptionalism in Zero Dark Thirty.”