“Espiritu makes a major contribution to media studies by combining sensitivity to political-economic forces and political machinations with a suggestive investigation of a layer not often discussed in media studies: the national imaginary.”
Clay Steinman, coauthor, Consuming Environments: Television and Commercial Culture
“Espiritu’s grasp of the uses of cinema in Philippine political theatre, narrated in its breathtaking scope and absurdity, is this challenging and ambitious book’s greatest strength.”
Cherubim Quizon, Seton Hall University
“It has almost become a truism that Philippine traditional politics is infused with, and even fueled by, emotion.…A comprehensive history of this phenomenon is still waiting to be written, but Talitha Espiritu’s Passionate Revolutions is a good place to begin.…Drawing … generally from the ‘affective turn’ in cultural studies, Espiritu argues for a more categorical consideration of the emotive dimension of this era—a theme that is only implicitly broached (though nevertheless almost always present) in most other standard accounts.”
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In the last three decades, the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos has commanded the close scrutiny of scholars. These studies have focused on the political repression, human rights abuses, debt-driven growth model, and crony capitalism that defined Marcos’ so-called Democratic Revolution in the Philippines. But the relationship between the media and the regime’s public culture remains underexplored.
In Passionate Revolutions, Talitha Espiritu evaluates the role of political emotions in the rise and fall of the Marcos government. Focusing on the sentimental narratives and melodramatic cultural politics of the press and the cinema from 1965 to 1986, she examines how aesthetics and messaging based on heightened feeling helped secure the dictator’s control while also galvanizing the popular struggles that culminated in “people power” and government overthrow in 1986.
In analyzing news articles, feature films, cultural policy documents, and propaganda films as national allegories imbued with revolutionary power, Espiritu expands the critical discussion of dictatorships in general and Marcos’s in particular by placing Filipino popular media and the regime’s public culture in dialogue. Espiritu’s interdisciplinary approach in this illuminating case study of how melodrama and sentimentality shape political action breaks new ground in media studies, affect studies, and Southeast Asian studies.
Talitha Espiritu teaches in the Film and New Media Studies program at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. Her work on the Marcos regime has appeared in edited anthologies and in Journal of Narrative Theory and Social Identities. More info →
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From the 1960s to the 1990s, seven members of the Quimpo family dedicated themselves to the anti-Marcos resistance in the Philippines, sometimes at profound personal cost. In this unprecedented memoir, eight siblings (plus one by marriage) tell their remarkable stories in individually authored chapters that comprise a family saga of revolution, persistence, and, ultimately, vindication, even as easy resolution eluded their struggles.
African Video Movies and Global Desires is the first full-length scholarly study of Ghana’s commercial video industry, an industry that has produced thousands of movies over the last twenty years and has grown into an influential source of cultural production. Produced and consumed under circumstances of dire shortage and scarcity, African video movies narrate the desires and anxieties created by Africa’s incorporation into the global cultural economy.
Every European power in Africa made motion pictures for its subjects, but no state invested as heavily in these films, and expected as much from them, as the British colony of Southern Rhodesia. Flickering Shadows is the first book to explore this little-known world of colonial cinema.
Melodrama is often seen as a blunt aesthetic tool tainted by its reliance on improbable situations, moral binaries, and overwhelming emotion, features that made it a likely ingredient of British imperial propaganda during the late nineteenth century. Yet, through its impact on many late-Victorian genres outside of the theater, melodrama developed a complicated relationship with British imperial discourse.