By Christina Baker and Carmen Sanchis-Sinisterra
On October 27 and 29, 2017, HISP 390: Queer Latinidad and HISP 324: Mujeres detrás de la cámara joined together in a critical thinking and creative practice initiative. The students from both classes had previously studied the film, Danzón(1991), which is a film that transgresses gender expectations and storyline objectives set forth by Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinema. However, from the perspectives of feminist and queer theories, Prof. Sanchis-Sinisterra and Prof. Baker asked the students to re-imagine the film’s final scene. Mixing things up, students were put into small groups with members from both classes in order to benefit from one another’s expertise. The groups first discussed the scene and shared their knowledge of respective theoretical concepts stemming from the Hispanic Studies courses. The groups were then asked to perform the final scene (approximately 2 minutes in length) using the props provided or any other materials they found useful.
After all groups had finished performing, we had a final task in which they were asked to think about what we had done as a group via this activity. The students responded with thoughtful responses such as break down gender binaries and norms as well as the very important basic steps of thinking critically and performing. Overwhelmingly, the students enjoyed the ability to work together and to share in blending the barriers between critic and creator. This collaborative effort was part of a year-long initiative across theoretical frameworks and classes. From these courses, Prof. Sanchis-Sinisterra and Prof. Baker are taking five students to the Mid-Atlantic Council on Latin American Studies, March 8-10, 2018. These initiatives have also received the generous support of Dean Donahue and the Annual Fund. Below are a few photographs of the event.