Panel 6


Panel 6

Panel 6: Representation in Film and Culture, Presentations and Q&A, Room 3202

Emma Kate Lauf, “Challenging Perceptions of Teen Pregnancy: Cinematography in Juno

Teen pregnancy in the United States has been highly stigmatized for years and young mothers are often labeled as “sexually unruly” or unfit to parent. As Kyra Clarke highlights in her article “Becoming Pregnant,” a pregnant teenager “carries a whole range of vilified meanings associated with failed femininity” and a “disregard for the well-being of the child.” These negative connotations create a sense of judgement toward young mothers, which can be harmful to pregnant women navigating coming of age. During an era when visual culture dominates, it’s important to analyze how representations of adolescent girls’ sexualities in movies show how “cultural ideals are embedded into society.” My research question is: To what extent does cinematography in Juno (2007) challenge the stigma surrounding teen pregnancy in the United States? My argument is that Juno both perpetuates and confronts the negative connotations of teen pregnancy. I will be discussing the ways in which the film sustains and opposes the stigma through cinematic and directorial choices. Learning about how this film both condones and defies the judgments society makes about teen mothers suggests that there are multiple valid perspectives on the topic.

My name is Emma Kate Lauf, and I am majoring in Media and Journalism. I hope to work in the creative side of advertising or public relations one day. I am very interested in research surrounding film and media studies, which is why analyzing an important topic like teen pregnancy through the lens of cinematography in Juno (2007) peaked my interest!

Bettye Tisch, "Portrayals of Environmentalism in Avatar"

Viti Pathak, "Life Is a Highway: Taste of Cherry’s Emphasis on a Universal Message about Life"

Exhilarating. Exhausting. Confusing. Life is one of the rare words described in many contradicting ways. Despite life's ups and downs, the general positive connotation towards existence pushes humanity to continue down that journey. But what if there is a want to stop it? This certain want is craved by Mr. Badii in Taste of Cherry as he drives on the barren roads outside of Tehran. Although the focus on his journey can be perceived as negative, the Iranian film presents relatability with the journey of life. Throughout my presentation, I will be analyzing how Abbas Kiarostami uses unique metaphors and cinematography in Taste of Cherry to authentically share a universal message about the peaks and valleys of life. I plan to go forth with this analysis by viewing certain aspects of the film. Specifically, I will be explaining how certain metaphors are shown in the settings and surroundings that encompass Mr. Badii. Additionally, there will be talk of how the cinematography creates emphasis on how the road setting shows how life is like a road. 

Nalaya Giraud, "Protestantism and Vodou in Haiti: Religion as a Form of Neocolonialism"

The only successful rebellion of enslaved peoples, the Haitian Revolution in 1971, was ignited by a Vodou ceremony, Bois Caïman. However, the influx of Evangelical Christians into Haiti has become an opposition to the existing Vodou religion. I hypothesize this influx is a form of neocolonialism by creating a conflicting subculture that seems to threaten the integrity of the Haitian culture while also promoting western hegemony. By reviewing several scholarly sources, I will be able to gain insight into the opposition that is created between these two religions through their respective subcultures. I will then demonstrate how this opposition is detrimental to the Haitian cultural identity. I will then reveal how religion in this contest is as a form of neocolonialism as well as to promote western hegemony. My research differs from others as it explores how religion can create social groups with their own respective cultures and connects it to neocolonialism. My research also connects the outcome of the Haitian cultural identity with the African diaspora. The importance of the Haitian cultural identity is rooted in the identity of the African diaspora, and therefore, any threats made towards the Haitian cultural identity affect all African diaspora.

Nalaya Giraud is a freshman studying biomedical engineering.