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Laura Isabel Serna

Assistant Professor


Laura Isabel Serna is Assistant Professor of Critical Studies. She is the author of Making Cinelandia: American Films and Mexican Film Culture before the Golden Age, which will be published by Duke University Press in 2013. She has published essays on Mexican film culture during the silent era in Aztlán and The Americas: A Quarterly Review of Inter-American Cultural History and the edited volumes Land of Necessity: Consumer Culture in the U.S. Mexico Borderlands (Duke University Press, 2009) and Convergence Media History (Routledge, 2009). She has also published essays on Latino Stardom and the commercial practices that enabled early Hollywood to reach global audiences.

She received the PhD from Harvard University, BA from UC Berkeley, and has received numerous fellowships including an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship and a Fulbright-García Robles Fellowship in support of her research.  Trained as a cultural historian her primary research interests are the cultural history of cinema during the silent period (especially historical reception studies), Chicana/o and Latina/o media and culture, Silent Cinema in Mexico, and nationalism and the formation of film cultures. Her current project, “The Photoplay Made Mexican” examines early Hollywood’s techniques for producing Mexico and Mexicans on screen in an attempt to theorize cinematic brownface. She teaches courses on international silent cinema, Latina/o Media, Mexican cinema, and Film History.

  • "Translations and Transportation: Toward a Transnational History of the Intertitle," in Silent Cinema and the Politics of Space, eds. Jennifer M. Bean, Anupama Kapse, and Laura Horak (Indiana University Press, 2014)
  • "Making Cinelandia: American Films and Mexican Film Culture before the Golden Age" (under contract, Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, expected date of publication 2013).
  • "La venganza de Pancho Villa: Resistance and Repetition", Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 37, no. 2 (Fall 2012): 11-42.
  • "Antonio Banderas, Andy Garcia, and Edward James Olmos: Latino Masculinity, the Politics of Ethnicity and Stardom in the 90s." In Star Decades: The 1990s, edited by Anna Everett, 123-43. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2012.
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