Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Introducing the 2021 Zemurray-Stone Postdoctoral Fellows: Alejandro Kelly Hopfenblatt

December 6th, 2021

Written by Riley Moran

Alejandro Kelly Hopfenblatt comes from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he has lived his whole life. He studied in the University of Buenos Aires, where he completed both a BA in Arts and a PhD in Art History and Theory.

His research focuses on the development of Latin American film industries from the 1930s to the 1950s, with a special interest in commercial circulation, distribution, and exhibition. Currently, he is specifically studying Argentine cinema during World War II, how it became entangled in the global dispute when both the Allied and Axis countries fought to influence its development and how these dynamics affected its film production.

We asked Alejandro some questions regarding his scholarly journey at Tulane. We are excited to have Alejandro here in the Stone Center!

What you will be doing while at Tulane?

Besides continuing my research, I will be working in the Centennial Project towards the 100-year anniversary of Latin American Studies in Tulane. Since I have been lately training in Digital Humanities tools and methodologies, I will be contributing to the development of content including digital archives, videographic materials, and online exhibitions to celebrate this milestone.

I also look forward to teaching a course and to participating in the various academic activities that take place at Tulane in order to meet other scholars and take advantage of Tulane‘€™s diverse environment.

What have you learned about Tulane that has been unexpected?

I arrived in New Orleans ten days before Ida, so I immediately got to know firsthand the strength of the Tulane community. Although it was not something totally unexpected, I was surprised by the solidarity and support that I received both before, during, and after the hurricane and the strength of the community to face these phenomena and be able to move forward.

What is one topic/text you love to teach and why?

Film History in general, and especially Latin American film history. On the one hand, my career has been driven by my love of cinema, and with the Latin American case there is still a universe to discover. Being able to unite teaching with research and transform it into a collective learning about the cultural history of the continent seems to me a central aspect of teaching and one of the best experiences you can have in academic life.

What do you want to accomplish during your post-doctoral appointment at Tulane?

First of all, I want to continue developing skills in Digital Humanities, for which I consider that the Centennial Project will be an ideal opportunity to apply my knowledge and learn new strategies.

I also want to be able to advance my research by taking advantage of the wealth of the collections that Tulane‘€™s Library offers. At the same time, having made my career so far in Argentina, being in the United States gives me the possibility to access files and sources that were previously inaccessible to me due to geographical distance.
Finally, I want to take advantage of the diversity and richness of the different study centers in Tulane to connect with fellow scholars, participate in their activities and engage in exchanges where I can contribute my perspectives and experiences and learn from theirs.

My career has been mostly within film studies and I was seeking to enter the field of Latin American studies to broaden my perspectives. The Zemurray-Stone postdoctoral fellowship seemed like an ideal opportunity since the Stone Center has a prominent place within this field and at the same time it carries a tradition in film studies that was closely linked to my academic interests. At the same time, the possibility of developing new skills in Digital Humanities in an interdisciplinary environment fueled my interest in working here.

And of course, we‘€™ll conclude with Alejandro‘€™s thoughts on moving to New Orleans!

Great! It is an exciting city, very different from anything I knew in the US, it presents a constant mix that gives it a unique identity. I especially find its incessant cultural life fascinating that seems to overflow everywhere every day. Although I have been already living here for a couple of months, I am still surprised every day by new unknown facets that show me the richness of both its history and its present.