Dr. Ramona Curry
Ph.D. Northwestern University, M.A. University of Tuebingen, Germany, B.A. University of Chicago
American and international cinema history and historiography; writing about film; issues of gender, race/ethnicity and social class in media and popular culture; trans-national media flows; cross-cultural media adaptations; genre theory.
Spring 2017: Engl/CWL/EALC 276, Asian Film Genres (new course); Engl/MACS 373: Disney Phenomenon; Recently: Historiography of Cinema (Graduate seminar); Theories of Popular Culture (honors Seminar) Engl/Afro 272,"Minority" Images in U.S. Film; Engl/MACS 273, American Cinema Since 1950
Spring 2017: Thursdays 4-5 p.m. or by appointment.
Ramona Curry teaches histories, theories, and strategies for writing about cinema and other forms of popular media and culture. Prof. Curry's research focuses on the sociocultural impact of media institutions, including film stars and cinema distribution and exhibition historically. She is author to date of a book on the shifting cultural functions of Mae West's image over eight decades and of numerous essays that have appeared in anthologies and journals in the US, Europe, and Asia. Several of her essays have appeared in Chinese or German translation. As a recipient in 2004 and 2014-15 of Fulbright awards, Prof. Curry has taught and lectured in Hong Kong, the People's Republic of China, Sweden, Finland and Germany. She has written extensively about German cinema and also about films made in Hong Kong. Her most recent publications draw heavily on census and genealogical records, shipping manifests, and other newly digitized government and newspaper archives, to reveal fresh facets of early trans-Pacific film distribution and reception. Prof. Curry is currently completing a monograph entitled "Trading in Cultural Spaces: How Chinese Film Came to America," which takes an urban cultural geographic and historiographic approach to rewriting American cinema history “from the margins.”
Film/Visual Culture, Cinema Historiography, Theory & Criticism, Gender/Sexuality Studies, Women's Literature, American Studies, Asian American Studies, African American Studies
Work(s) in Progress
Monograph: "Trading in Cultural Spaces: How Chinese FIlm Came to America", Essay on the "first Chinese movie star" in the U.S., "Lady Tsen Mei," and on the early Chinese American vaudevillians Edgar Donsang and his sister Dong Fong Gue (Minnie Donsang)
Ramona Curry teaches histories, theories, and strategies for writing about cinema and other forms of popular media and culture. Her research focuses on the sociocultural impact of media institutions, including film stars and cinema distribution and exhibition historically. She has written extensively about German and more recently about Hong Kong cinema of the mid-20th century. She is author of Too Much of a Good Thing: Mae West as Cultural Icon (U of Minnesota P, 1996) and numerous essays that have appeared in U.S. and international anthologies and journals, including Cinema Journal, The Journal of Women’s History, Journal of Film and Video, and Camera Obscura.
Prof. Curry taught at Hong Kong Baptist University as the recipient of a 2004 Fulbright Award and spent Spring 2015 as the "Fulbright Distinguished Chair of American Studies" at Uppsala University in Sweden. She is currently completing a monograph entitled Trading in Cultural Spaces: How Chinese Film Came to America, which takes an urban cultural geographic and historiographic approach to rewriting American cinema history “from the margins.” The archive-research-intensive project has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2008, 2011) and the University of Illinois Mid-Career Faculty Release Time Award (2014).
Specializations / Research Interest(s)
- issues of gender, race/ethnicity and class in media
- theories and practices in media genre
- cross-cultural media adaptations
- popular culture/media stars
- international and American cinema history
- historiography of cinema
Abstract for the NEH-Funded monograph project Trading in Cultural Spaces: How Chinese Film Came to America.Cinema scholars have well documented how movies "made in the USA"have dominated screens internationally for 90 years, but as yetinsufficiently addressed the historical and on-going impact of intra-regional and community-based media circuits around the globe thatdo not fit the “West to the Rest” model. Curry's book-in-progress, entitled “Trading in Cultural Spaces: How Chinese FIlm Came to America” draws on dense archival research to document individuals, practices, and locales comprising an unwritten strand of American film history: the trans-Pacific flow of Chinese movies into and within the U.S. From the early 20th century such films have challenged stereotypes and forged avenues for cross-cultural exchange. By recovering multiple Chinese American and supporting voices, images and multicultural networks, my project aims to refocus cinema history on its prior margins, to enrich transnational and national film and social histories and make intellectual contributions consonant with the NEH "We the People" and "Bridging Cultures" initiatives.
- B.A. University of Chicago
- M.A. University of Tuebingen, Germany;
- Ph.D. Radio/TV/Film, Northwestern University;
- Engl 396 honors seminar: Theories of Popular Culture
- Engl/MACS 503: Historiography of Cinema
- Engl 593: Proseminar in the Teaching of Film
- RECENTLY TAUGHT
- SPRING 2016
- Engl/MACS 373: Magical Empire: The Disney Phenomenon from Aesthetic, Cultural, and Economic Perspectives
- Engl 300: Writing Film Criticism
- Engl 300: Transmedia Adaptations: From Written Word to Screen
- Engl/MACS 273: American Cinema Since 1950
- Engl/MACS 104: Introduction to Film
- On leave in Fall 2017
- Curry, Ramona. Too Much of a Good Thing: Mae West as Cultural Icon. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996.
- "Making Connections: Benjamin Brodsky and Early Trans-Pacific Cinema Historiography." Chinese Cinema: Tracing the Origins (in Chinese). Ed. Ain-ling Wong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong Film Archive, 2011. 94-109.
- "Bridging the Pacific with Love Eterne." China Forever: The Shaw Brothers and Diasporic Cinema. Ed. Poshek Fu. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008. 174-198.
- "Benjamin Brodsky (1877-1960): The Transpacific American Film Entrepreneur -- Part One, Making A TRIP THRU CHINA ." Journal of American-East Asian Relations 18.1 (2011): 58-94.
- "Benjamin Brodsky (1877-1960): The Trans-Pacific American Film Entrepreneur – Part Two, Taking A TRIP THRU CHINA to America." Journal of American - East Asian Relations 18.2 (2011): 142-180.
- "Transnational and Diasporic Cinema." Oxford Bibliographies in Cinema and Media Studies. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. 16 May 2016. <http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/browse?module_0=obo-9780199791286>.
- Curry, Ramona. "Reviving the History, Revising the Historiography of Female Media Pioneers." Rev. of Women Filmmakers in Early Hollywood; The Girl from God’s Country; Nell Shipman and the Silent Cinema; It’s One O’Clock and Here Is Mary Margaret McBride; The First Lady of Hollywood: A Biography of Louella Parsons. Journal of Women’s History 21.3 (2009): 188-203.