The next HoMER webinar will take place on Monday 18 January, 5pm (UK time).
Our speaker will be Monique Toppin, who will present on the topic of ‘Cinemagoing and the Politics of Space in Little Nassau during the 1950s’.
Please register for this event here:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting via Zoom.
Considering the unwritten code of segregation within the city of Nassau prior to and during the 1950s, it is not particularly surprising that the cinemas would have instituted some form of racial demarcation to appease social nuances of that time. My presentation focuses on the influence of racial discrimination and its impact on cinemagoing. It examines the politics of space in the cinemagoing experience and peers through the lens of the interviewed narrators to deconstruct the memories of their experiences and observations in the context of race within the place of the cinemas in Nassau. It also looks at their attendance of other public places that encompassed the geographical area and socially allied ‘space’, which permeates the collective impression of their cinema experience during that period. My talk will highlight ways in which the racial divides influenced the daily life and attitudes of the narrators during that epoch and evaluates the racial impressions left on the contrasting memories of the racially mixed narrators. Finally, I will briefly assessess the cinema experience in the 1950’s as a social structure to determine the ways in which it functioned as a ‘third place’, a place that is different from home or work, and a “social anchor of community life” (Harris, 2007, p. 147), especially for young Bahamians residing in Nassau in this post war colonial era.
I completed my doctoral studies at the University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland. My research topic was Cinema and Cultural Memory in Nassau, Bahamas during the 1950s. Currently, I am Head of the Department in the school of Journalism and Communication at The University of The Bahamas, Nassau, Bahamas, having worked in higher education for more than 30 years. I teach courses in media studies and communication. My research interests are new cinema history and the culture of media generally and more particularly the history and cultural affect of censorship of the film media specific to the Bahamas and the region; memory studies; and audience studies. Over the years I have presented on my work in film ratings and censorship and cinema and culture in The Bahamas at conferences in Portugal, Germany, and the UK. I am married with one daughter.
Monday 7 December, 5pm (UK time).
Jessica Whitehead and Thunnis van Oort – ‘Comparative Histories of Moviegoing’
In this interactive session we will present our edited collection examining comparative histories of moviegoing. The collection, edited by Jessica Whitehead and Thunnis van Oort, encompasses a broad tent approach positioned across a spectrum that ranges from works comparing oral histories, programming, and distribution to a myriad of other interventions and new perspectives within New Cinema History. We will give a short presentation on the collection and then engage in a group discussion on comparative practices moving forward, so please bring along any current datasets or projects. Also, make sure to have the latest version of zoom downloaded because we will be using the new breakout room features in this presentation.
Monday 2 November, 5pm (UK time).
Our speaker will be Emma Forth (University of Edinburgh), who will present on ‘The Development of Early Cinema in the United Kingdom, 1909-1918: A Four Nations Study’.
This project explores the rise and role of purpose-built British cinemas in 1909-1918, through a social and cultural analysis of the decade. This understudied period – encompassing passage of the 1909 Cinematograph Act regulating the British industry for the first time, to the end of the First World War – saw cinema become the most popular form of commercial mass-entertainment in Britain. This decade developed both the social role of cinema and the consumption of film within local communities in Britain. Scholarship on early cinema, 1895-1927, is often nation-specific and chronologically divided with the outbreak of the First World War as the break point. This project, however, provides a comparative analysis across all four nations of the United Kingdom, aiming to provide a greater understanding of the central decade of this period of leisure practice modernisation.
This paper will outline the aims of my project, as well as presenting initial research findings. Thus far, I have created the first database of British and Irish early cinemas using trade directories, and mapped these locations. This visually depicts the geographic spread of British and Irish cinemas in 1914 at the height of British cinema’s first wave. By using the location of cinemas as a starting point, this project will seek to explore the circumstances surrounding the development of this new leisure practice, and assess the social and cultural implications of cinema-going within British communities, from cities to small towns alike.
I completed my undergraduate degree in History at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2014. I then took a break from education, working as a risk analyst, running the admissions department in a high school, and as a receptionist and volunteer at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden. I returned to university in 2018, completing my MSc in History at the University of Edinburgh, before staying on to start my PhD from September 2019. My project looks at the development of early cinema across all four nations of the United Kingdom, 1909-1918.