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Chuck Kleinhans
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generations

Posted By Chuck Kleinhans, Thursday, March 7, 2013

Generations

I’ve been having lots of thoughts about generations at the conference. Maybe this comes with being an old geezer. Easier to think of the distant past and with nostalgia than remember the film title or name of someone I recognize (or fail to recognize)…call it the Emeritus Effect.

Old friend Patricia Erens told me that she thought that Maureen Turim and Scott Nygren’s child might be presenting, and when I saw Maureen, she said yes, her daughter Mika, who is now a grad student, was giving a paper Sunday morning on Yiddish cinema. Wow, I thought, remembering that I first met Maureen when she was an undergrad back in the 70s.

At breakfast with and Julia Lesage and Jyotika Virdi, we talked about how two young scholars of South Asian cinema told Jyotika after her presentation that her book The Cinematic ImagiNation: Indian Popular Films as Social History, was foundational to their work. "They called me Professor!” she said, and I said, "well those are your intellectual children, and Julia’s grandchildren.” (Since Julia directed Jyotika’s dissertation.)

Last night Julia and I had drinks with our niece and nephew, Leigh Duck, who is now at Ole Miss, and giving a paper the same time as mine on Friday….darn! Her husband, Michael Lesage filled us in on his side of the far flung family. We hadn’t seen them for a decade. (Sudden illness kept us from attending a key wedding.) So it was great to catch up, fill in, and appreciate.

Had lunch time with Barry Grant, who’s busy as ever editing books and collections, and in the middle of republishing the late Robin Wood’s work, which brought on more nostalgia for Robin’s feisty and smart and (sometimes pure ornery) temper.

I remember trying to attend my first SCMS meeting in the mid-70s. It was at Northwestern, and I was living in Chicago, driving a school bus for a living and starting up JUMP CUT. I showed up, and was told I couldn’t attend because you had to pay a faculty membership and faculty conference fee, and since I had my PhD, I couldn’t have the student rate. I pointed out that I wasn’t faculty. I knew a few of the people attending and finally they said I could stay for the day since I was there, but I couldn’t attend the next day. I complained, and later Calvin Prylock tjold me privately that the progressives were trying to change the situation. A few years earlier they had changed from the Society of Cinematologists, and being a group you could not join: you had to be considered worthy by a member, and then nominated for membership! Old Boys Club indeed!

That meeting had two concurrent sessions: the Film Historians on one floor and everything else below. Cinema Journal at that point only accepted article on Film History in an attempt to seem worthy of being in the academy. Well, times have changed.

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