Huston School of Film and Digital Media (Book Chapters)

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    Strange mothers: The maternal and contemporary media art in Ireland
    (Anthem Press, 2021-02) Putnam, El
    [No abstract available]
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    European cinema and the football film: ‘Play for the people who’ve accepted you’
    (Routledge, 2021-05-18) Crosson, Seán
    This chapter examines the place of association football in European cinema. Sport cinema has been among the most enduring, popular, and critically acclaimed of genres within American cinema; however, limited research has been undertaken as yet of the European experience. Though a less prominent feature of European cinema, the European sports film has had a long history dating back to the earliest Lumière brothers productions. This chapter provides some initial findings from a quantitative survey of European sport cinema, which identifies football as by far the most commonly featured sport. An overview of the historical development of the football film sub-genre is provided, with particular attention paid to the impact of a number of representative films in a variety of European contexts. As these films have responded to larger developments within specific European countries and the continent more broadly, it is argued that they have served as a barometer of changing cultural values and concerns since the early twentieth century.
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    “This too shall pass”: Gaelic games, Irish media and the Covid-19 lockdown in Ireland
    (Common Ground, 2021) Crosson, Seán; Free, Marcus
    This paper examines the impact of the first Covid-19 lockdown in Ireland on Gaelic games and the sports-media complex in Ireland via an analysis of the media discourses surrounding these sports. It focuses principally on the period between March 12th (when the Irish government announced the lockdown confirming the suspension of Gaelic games fixtures) and May 12th. Gaelic games provide a unique focus on the topic of sport and the lockdown; they are amateur sports (principally hurling and Gaelic football) that dominate the Irish sporting calendar each year, attracting the largest attendances across the island and occupying a key role within communities, particularly in rural areas. The cancellation of its elite and local level events over its peak Spring-Summer season severely impacted their governing body, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), its athletes and national sports-media. The chapter traces the discursive construction and circulation of three themes across print, broadcast and social media during the lockdown. Firstly, as with all other sports, there has been an abundance of retrospective broadcast programming, revisiting of key past sporting events and critical commentaries on the significance of these moments in the evolution and transformation of the GAA and Gaelic games. The latter were particularly prevalent in print media and their online editions. A second strand of coverage stressed the financial implications of the crisis for the GAA and the viability of its competitions post-crisis. While reliance on revenue from broadcast sports rights is an important factor in the GAA s economic model it differs from international sports in its comparatively lower dependence in this respect as the games are largely only played in Ireland and all of its players are amateur. A further theme evident in broadcast, print, and social media discourses was the prominence of GAA athletes in a discourse of national, collective will to overcome the crisis. This involved challenge-based fundraising campaigns to purchase personal protective equipment for health staff, but also (in a specific illustrative focus for the paper) a high profile, cross-media campaign to raise funds for an infant requiring life-saving treatment in the US. Such campaigns crystallise a nostalgia for the experience of mass spectator sports, highlight the ordinariness and local, community situatedness of Irish sporting celebrities, and offer a proximation and idealisation of the collective experience of sport as symbol and exemplar of national integration. Collectively these various discourses around sport and exercise became a conduit for the expression of social and cultural tensions and anxieties unleashed by Covid-19.
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    Performances of situated knowledge in the ageing female body
    (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017-11-25) Putnam, El
    Kathleen Woodward describes how the ageing female body is both hyper-visible and invisible: mass media representations tend to regulate expectations for how women are to behave as they age while rendering them obsolete and erasing them from view. The artists under consideration in this chapter—Rocio Boliver, Pauline Cummins and Frances Mezzetti, and Marilyn Arsem—reveal the relationship between gender and age in a non-traditional manner. Despite the differences between these artists in how they approach ageing, their practices are united in that experiences of ageing are treated as performative through the creation of live works that emerge from embodied experiences.
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    Performing pregnant: An aesthetic investigation of pregnancy
    (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018-02-17) Putnam, El
    In this chapter, I explore how the aesthetics of pregnancy and childbirth offers a platform for exploring the pregnant body in the cultural consciousness by building on Iris Marion Young’s phenomenological understanding of pregnancy and Martin Heidegger’s treatment of the essence of technology as Gestell (enframing). Instead of treating pregnancy as a state to be endured, physical pregnancy can function as a source for intellectual growth and creative exploration. Performances by pregnant artists, including Marni Kotak, Cathy Van Eck, and Sandy Huckleberry, counter the containment of maternal subjectivity through the medicalisation of pregnancy as well as challenge a questionable legacy of representations of pregnancy in art. In their performances, where art is treated as a realm for corporeal exploration, pregnancy becomes the impetus for aesthetic experience.
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    Locative reverb: Artistic practice, sound technology, and the grammatization of the listener in the city
    (Springer International Publishing, 2021) Putnam, El
    There are various ways that artists use technology in exploring the relation of sound to the urban environment, which has different impacts on the listener in relation to place. The rising prominence of these works is connected to a broader sonic turn in urban studies and art, underscoring a rising emphasis on the influence of sound on multisensory experience. Using Bernard Stiegler’s consideration of technology as pharmakon (or the condition of duality in which something is both poison and cure, bringing both benefit and harm), and his definition of technological grammatization, how artistic use of technology mediates the relationship of the urban environment to the listener through sound is studied through a pharmacological approach in order to nuance the possibilities of artistic critical engagement, emphasising how this can include unintended consequences of re-enforcing certain listener behaviours. At the same time, considerations of how artistic repurposing of listening technology can provide new modes of urban engagement are taken into account, where sound offers the impetus for what Brandon LaBelle (2017) refers to as sonic agency.
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    Context collapse
    (Demeter Press, 2021-03) Putnam, El
    [No abstract available]
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    Sport and Christianity in American cinema ‘The beloved grew fat and kicked’ (Deuteronomy 32:15)
    (Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2017-10-21) Crosson, Seán
    Christianity has been an enduring feature of films featuring sports or sporting figures since the early twentieth century, such that religious icons, references and rituals have now become naturalised as familiar and recurring presences in the cinema. Recent Christian drama films such as the American football-themed Facing the Giants (2006) and the surfing biopic Soul Surfer (2011) have employed the emotive and seductive qualities of the mainstream sports film to affirm Christian themes. They each remind us that sport is a powerful vehicle for the promotion of faith-based narratives; while offering the considerable challenges of sporting competition, the drive to success and its realization by characters who foreground their Christian belief may appear to provide convincing evidence to some of the importance of Christian faith. Film, as a form that is characterized by its ability to convincingly capture aspects of the world around us, also responds to societal developments, including the manner through which sport and Christianity have interconnected historically. For administrators and promoters of particular sports, conscious that they were engaged with a cultural form viewed at times with considerable suspicion, Christianity provided an important means of legitimizing sport and its importance in society, a feature reflected in particular in American films featuring sport from the early twentieth century. This process took a number of forms including the trope of the boxer-and-the-and-priest and the manner through which athletes themselves appeared to incorporate aspects of Christian figures. Both sport and Christianity are also central supporting elements for a core ideology in American life, the American Dream, and this is apparent in one of the most popular and recurring trajectories found within the American Sports film. Through a close reading of relevant film texts, this essay maps the developing relationship between sport and Christianity as revealed in American cinema.
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    Gaelic games and the films of John Ford
    (Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2018-02-27) Crosson, Seán
    This peer-reviewed chapter emerged further to ongoing research into the representations of Gaelic games in the cinema and is focused on films directed, or part-directed, by John Ford, in particular The Quiet Man (1952), The Rising of the Moon (1957), and Young Cassidy (1965). For Ford, Gaelic games would seem to have provided a useful motif encapsulating prevailing stereotypes regarding the Irish, including their alleged proclivity for violence. Where referred to, hurling in particular seems inevitably to proceed or suggest an occasion of violence in Ford s work. However, these allusions also reveal Ford s tendency towards self-interrogation, to raise doubts at key moments about their own veracity (Luke Gibbons) in the director s focus as much on the prejudiced reactions of those unfamiliar with the sport of hurling as on the sport itself, never actually depicted in his films. Furthermore, Ford realized the performative potential of Irish stereotypes, exploiting in the process the comic potential of hurling (a process also evident in earlier American cinema) to diffuse anxieties regarding the Irish, and to help integrate Irish-American culture into mainstream American life.
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    The sea of orality: An introduction to orality and modern Irish culture
    (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009) Cronin, Nessa; Crosson, Seán; Eastlake, John
    [Introduction to the collection Anáil an Bhéil Bheo: Orality and Modern Irish Culture (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009)] While the connections between oral and textual traditions in Ireland have been the focus of much scholarly work in the past, less consideration has been paid to the theoretical concept of “orality” and the corresponding significance of oral texts in modern Irish culture and society. The present collection of essays seeks to explore the relationships between such interrelated islands, and to highlight the connections between orality and textuality that, at different times and for different reasons, have not been recognised, foregrounded or integrated into our general understanding of how these forms of cultural discourse have operated in an Irish context. This volume is the result of a rich interdisciplinary collaboration, which began with the hosting of a conference dealing with the ways in which modern Irish culture has navigated its way through the “surrounding sea of orality”. One of the central aims of the conference was to address and sensitively navigate the critical faultlines that permeate and shape our understanding of Irish literate and oral cultures. An additional concern was to foster an interdisciplinary critique of Irish oral and textual cultures that would draw on many disciplines to disrupt and complicate the too easy and dichotomising alignment of orality with the Irish language, the traditional and rurality, and print literacy with the English language, modernity and urbanity. While much disciplinary-based work is vital to Irish Studies scholarship, an interdisciplinary approach that rigorously interrogates and integrates such disciplinary strands can highlight previously occluded connections, offer new insights, and on occasion can evolve new interpretive strategies that further our understanding of the key issues under investigation.
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    Ireland and Biafra: hunger, history, politics and public opinion
    (Cambria Press, 2012) Bateman, Fiona; |~|
    [No abstract available]
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    Contemporary Irish film: An introduction
    (Braumüller, 2011) Huber, Werner; Crosson, Seán
    (Introduction to collection CONTEMPORARY IRISH FILM: NEW PERSPECTIVES ON A NATIONAL CINEMA) The title of this paper is deliberately ambiguous. It is not only meant as an introduction to this collection, but also as a very basic introduction to the study of Irish film and cinema – considering the dearth of relevant material originating from, and visible in, the academic playing fields of Continental Europe or anywhere outside the Anglo-American sphere. Therefore, before we introduce the contents of this collection, a few summarising hints and guidelines for critics, students, and movie-goers new to the study of Irish film are in order. The "Works Cited" section appended to this introduction may be considered as an elementary checklist for the study of contemporary Irish cinema.
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    “If Irish cinema is going to be really great it has to stop worrying too much about being ‘Irish cinema’”: Q & A with Lenny Abrahamson and Mark O’Halloran
    (Braumüller, 2011) Crosson, Seán; Schreiber, Mark
    Director Lenny Abrahamson and screenwriter and actor Mark O'Halloran have established a formidable partnership in recent years that has produced some of the most distinctive and celebrated work to emerge in Irish cinema. Their low-budget debut film Adam & Paul (2004) enjoyed commercial success in Ireland and critical acclaim internationally, winning awards at the Sofia International Film Festival, the Gijón International Film Festival, the Evening Standard British Film Awards as well as the Irish Film and Television Award for best director. Their follow up feature, Garage (2007), won 11 major international festival awards including the C.I.C.A.E. Award at the Cannes Film Festival. They were also responsible for the acclaimed television mini-series “Prosperity” (2007). This contribution was given as part of a public interview chaired by Seán Crosson and Mark Schreiber on the occasion of the 7th EFACIS Conference, University of Vienna, 5 September 2009.
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    Irish intolerance: exploring its roots in Irish cinema
    (Braumüller, 2011) Crosson, Seán
    This article examines the depiction of intolerance in Irish film just before and during the Celtic Tiger period itself, usually associated with the years 1995–2007. In particular, the paper is concerned with exploring how Irish filmmakers sought to identify the roots of contemporary racism through an exploration of intolerance in Ireland’s past and towards long-resident minorities within Irish society, including the Traveller community and homosexuals. Films considered in this analysis include Korea (Cathal Black, 1995), A Man of No Importance (Suri Krishnama, 1995), Broken Harvest (Maurice O’Callaghan, 1995), The Last of the High Kings (David Keating, 1996), The Last Bus Home (Johnny Gogan, 1997), Dancing at Lughnasa (Pat O'Connor, 1998), A Love Divided (Syd McCartney, 1999), Nora (Pat Murphy, 2000), Country (Kevin Liddy, 2000), and Bloom (Seán Walsh, 2004).
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    An Irish Missionary in India: Thomas Gavan Duffy and the Catechist of Kil-Arni
    (Irish Academic Press, 2006) Bateman, Fiona; |~|
    [No abstract available]
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    Sport and the 1916 Rising
    (Teagasc, 2016) Crosson, Seán; |~|
    This chapter considers the role of sport in the lives of participants in the 1916 Easter Rising.
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    Exploring European sporting identities: history, theory, methodology ,
    (Peter Lang, 2010) Crosson, Seán; Dine, Philip
    This collaborative study (an introduction to the collection Sport, Representation, and Evolving Identities in Europe) is intended to contribute to the ongoing elucidation of the role of sport in the processes of identity construction in contemporary societies, including an overview of its historical development and the major theoretical and methodological approaches to the examination of sport. Since the pioneering work of Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger on ‘the invention of tradition’ (1983), and Benedict Anderson on ‘imagined communities’ (1983), modern games have regularly been identified as a core component in the construction of Europeans’ individual and communal senses of self, particularly at the level of the modern nation-state. Our volume seeks to build on these still solid conceptual foundations, as well as on more recent and more specifically targeted work in this area, such as the important edited volumes by Jeremy MacClancy (Sport, Identity and Ethnicity, 1996), and by Adrian Smith and Dilwyn Porter (Sport and National Identity in the Post-War World, 2004). As a result of these and related interventions in what has become an expanding field of study, few academic commentators would today doubt sport’s significance as a mode of individual and communal interaction, and, a fortiori, of cultural representation. Indeed, a persuasive case can be made for regarding participation, broadly conceived, in mass sporting activities as among the most important modes of perception, both of ourselves and others, available to contemporary societies. Since their emergence and codification in the midnineteenth century, modern sports have exerted a powerful influence on both personal and collective self-images, and have thus impacted extensively on local and national politics, and even on the international order itself. At the core of this evolving system of signification, sport’s distinguishing input to the imaginative life and the identity politics of modern European nation-states has been a constant for well over a century.
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    The Quiet Man and Beyond: An Introduction
    (Liffey Press, 2009) Crosson, Seán
    In 1996, The Quiet Man topped an Irish Times poll for the best Irish film of all time. Almost ten years later, with many more Irish (and Irish-themed) films made, The Quiet Man still occupied number four in a poll of 10,000 people across Ireland. John Ford's greatest commercial success, the film also set a template for Ireland's representation, and promotion, for over half a century. This book (to which this essay is the introduction), The Quiet Man ... and Beyond, involves both critical analysis of aspects of The Quiet Man as myth, commodity and fetish and the celebration of a film that has sustained considerable academic attention and popular appreciation since its release in 1952. Among the topics considered are the complexity of the film's relation to Ireland, to Irish literature and to John Ford's other films; its perceived place with regard to indigenous Irish cinema; and the phenomenon of its circulation and reception as a cult film over the years. Contributors include Ruth Barton, James P. Byrne, Sean Crosson, Fidelma Farley, Roddy Flynn, Adrian Frazier, Luke Gibbons, Michael Patrick Gillespie, Conor Groome, John Hill, Des MacHale, Barry Monahan, Brian O'Conchubhair, Diog O'Connell, Caitriona O'Torna, Tom Paulus, Sean Ryder, Eamonn Slater and Rod Stoneman. More Info: Review: “This volume will be enjoyed by those interested in Ford’s relationship to Ireland and in Ireland’s relationship to the dreamworlds and catastrophes of American cinema and American capital.” - Professor Joe Cleary, The Irish Times
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    1916 and Irish literature, culture and society: an introduction
    (Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2015) Crosson, Seán; |~|
    1916 marked an important moment in the development of modern Ireland. The continuing resonance of the Republican Rising that took place in that year was evident in the now much quoted editorial of The Irish Times (18 Nov 2010) the day after it was announced Ireland was to receive a financial bailout from the EU and IMF. "Was it for this?" the editorial asked, "the men of 1916 died." However, the Rising was but one of a range of significant events in 1916. Beyond the political sphere, 1916 marked the publication of James Joyce's first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and also saw the foundation of Ireland's first indigenous film production company, The Film Company of Ireland, whose co-founder James Mark Sullivan was arrested after the Rising and charged with complicity. 1916 was also the year in which Ireland was aligned to Greenwich Mean Time for the first time, supplanting Dublin Mean Time, bringing the island temporally closer to the rest of the United Kingdom in the same year that would mark an important point in the changing political relationship between the UK and Ireland. Towards 2016: 1916 and Irish Literature, Culture & Society is cognisant of the multiple perspectives and events that are associated with 1916 in Ireland and their continuing relevance to Irish literature, culture and society. The collection (to which this chapter is the introduction) considers a broad range of cultural forms and societal issues, including politics, theatre, traditional music, poetry, James Joyce, greyhound sports, graphic novels, contemporary fiction, documentary, language, political representation, and the Irish economy with contributions from both emerging academics and established scholars. Also featured is an interview with acclaimed film director and novelist Neil Jordan (conducted by novelist Patrick McCabe) on his life and work, including his biopic Michael Collins (1996), a work which includes one of the most memorable renderings of the Rising and its aftermath. Among the questions considered in the collection are: What were the formative influences on one of leaders of the Rising, James Connolly? What effect had the Rising on Ireland's fledgling labour movement? What impact did the Rising have on the Abbey and Irish theatre? What connects 1916, James Joyce, and the Cuban Revolution? What is the relevance of 1916 to Irish traditional music? What place has 1916 in contemporary Irish fiction and poetry? What are the relations between the Rising, sequential art, popular culture, and memory? A century after the 1916 Proclamation spoke of equality between women and men, could Ireland be finally about to realise equal gender distribution in politics? Does 'Irish sovereignty', a central concern of the Rising leaders, have any relevance for Ireland in the contemporary globalised and European Union context?