During its emergence and heyday in the first half of the 20th century, cinema can be considered to be both a symptom and a catalyst of modern times. It provided visceral access to representations of social and cultural practices often produced worlds away for American, European, Indian or Chinese audiences. The socio-cultural history of moviegoing has been the topic of a growing body of academic research centered on the global North. In the last decade, tentative inroads have been made for similar research on the global South.
However, scholarly work about moviegoing in the former Dutch colonies in the West, for Suriname in particular, is scarce. How did films produced in America, India or China, or, in fact, how did moviegoing regardless of the origin of the films that were screened, impact the various communities in Suriname? The highly diverse society of Suriname provides an intriguing case for investigating the social dynamics of moviegoing. For example, for the Hindustani community, formed after the mass migration of contract labourers to Suriname, cinema – and ‘Bollywood’ in particular – could expose the sometimes complicated cultural bonds between diaspora and ‘homeland’.
Goal of this project, a collaboration with the Anton de Kom University of Suriname (AdK), is to promote a research agenda to a new generation of historians that have enrolled in the BA History and the 3-year MA History programme at the AdK.
- Workshop for History students at the AdK
- Programmatic article outlining the benefits of studying the cinema history of Suriname and listing various potential questions, sources and methods to do so, with examples from concrete case studies.
- Database with information on cinemas and film screenings in Suriname, based on the Cinema Context data model