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Lecture to Explore Globalization's Impact on TV, Film Industries

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January 8, 2008 | by Wendy Leopold

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A former broadcast journalist-turned-academic will discuss the impact of globalization on media studies and suggest reasons why Hong Kong, Lagos, Miami and Mumbai have emerged as world centers of media activity when he presents the 25th annual Van Zelst Lecture in Communication Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Northwestern University.

Michael Curtin, professor of media and cultural studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison, will speak at 4:30 p.m. in the McCormick Auditorium in the James L. Allen Center, Evanston campus. His lecture, "Space Matters: The Cultural Geography of Global Media," is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

Curtin will propose a theory of "media capital" as a way to explore the spatial dynamics of film and television industries that today send images around the world. With imagery flowing more freely across borders and national media increasingly exposed to the challenges and opportunities of globalization, he suggests that our understanding of media institutions is changing dramatically.

Curtin, a former National Public Radio's correspondent in Japan, began researching Chinese media industries at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. As a Fulbright Research Fellow based in Taipei, he traveled widely through the region interviewing media executives and creative talent for his book "Playing to the World's Biggest Audience: The Globalization of Chinese Film and TV."

Co-editor (with Northwestern Professor Lynn Spigel) of "The Revolution Wasn't Televised: Sixties Television and Social Conflict," Curtin is the author of "Redeeming the Wasteland: Television Documentary and Cold War Politics." In that book, he explored how American television in the 1960s helped transform public perceptions of America's place in world affairs.

Curtin coined the term "media capital" to frame his study of Chinese screen industries. He now is extending and expanding the concept in a book project "Media Capital: The Cultural Geography of Globalization."

The author of "The American Television Industry" and a scholarly anthology titled "Re-Orienting Global Communication: Indian and Chinese Media Beyond Borders," Curtin is co-editor of the "International Screen Industries" book series for the British Film Institute.

The Van Zelst Research Chair in Communication was established at Northwestern's School of Communication in 1981 with an endowment from Mr. and Mrs. Theodore W. Van Zelst. It provides a professor with the opportunity to devote a year to research on an important issue in communication, and provides funds for the Van Zelst Lecture.

The Van Zelst Lecture is designed to increase our understanding of significant communication trends. For more information, call (847) 491-5312 or e-mail t-david@northwestern.edu.