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Trans/National Media & Questions of Identity

Trans/National Media & Questions of Identity

This project belongs to the following research constellations:


Globalization and Migration



Patricia Pisters


Staff: Patricia Pisters, Jaap Kooijman, Frank van Vree

PhD candidates: Andrea Meuzelaar

, Emiel Martens, Maryn Wilkinson

, Walid el Houri

, Anik Fournier

, Cigdem Bugdayci

, Levent Yilmazok

, Gozde Onaran, Abdelbasset Dahraoui


This project focuses specifically on the role of media (film, television, video art and internet) in relation to questions of identity. All projects deal with tensions between the national and transnational dimensions of the media. Both cinema and television, for much of their history have been closely bound to the nation and national territory. Although cinema has always already been a transnational medium (film prints cross borders easily) it was also very much related to the idea of the Imperial Nation. Since the beginnings of cinema in the late nineteenth century, national film companies send their cameramen and directors to every corner of the world in order to bring back images from the colonies. And, inversely, films from the colonizing nation were brought to the colonized nations to show the European ways of life. Television has been related to national territories even more strongly. Born in the period of decolonization, television was strictly bound to national broadcasting companies and considered as the medium to imagine (a new) domestic national identity. Although programs and series were exchanged for a long time, no country had the right to broadcast into foreign territories directly.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, cinema is no longer related to the historical colonial project. Under the influence of globalization and migration however, the global market is dominated by Hollywood. At the same time an increasing number of films are marked by the multiplicity of movements of migration of its director and large groups of people he or she speaks for. With the advent of satellite television and the internet (especially Web 2.0, but also the possibilities for artists to present their work online) the national territorial borders of the medium have been crossed. Since the beginning of the 1990s cross-border TV channels are addressing global communities. Television and Web 2.0 have become a deterritorializing media, since it is no longer confined to its national broadcasting location. At the same time it has territorializing powers, since many communities in diaspora are now much more closely connected to their home countries again by satellite television.

In all the sub-projects that are part of this project several questions return: What is the place of the nation and national identity (including American identity through Hollywood) when media (and their contents) cross massively all borders? Can we think beyond the Nation and how then would we define a more cosmopolitan philosophy? What is the function of these media (and a different view on the nation) for questions of multicultural and intercultural identity? How can colonial and post-colonial legacies still be traced and challenged by these media? What is the relationship between these questions of national/transnational identities and questions of gender-, religious or political identities? Theoretical underpinnings and methodologies include postcolonial theory, questions of third cinema, feminist media theory and (critical) discourse analysis.


Monthly peer review group, dissertations, monograph, symposium.