Eduardo Ledesma is an Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
What is the focus of your current work and/or subject of your current research?
I study contemporary cinema and media through a transatlantic / transnational perspective, examining the flows of films, filmmakers and formal influences between Spain, Latin America and Latinx USA. In a current disability studies project I am studying work by blind and visually impaired filmmakers to define their shared style in terms of form and content..
What classes do you teach? What are some of the topics of those classes?
Most of my courses focus on film in relation to contemporary urban culture, for instance my undergraduate Gen Ed class SPAN 248 "Latinx Cinema: Beyond Braceros, Narcos and Latin Lovers" is a panoramic view of Latinx cinema in the USA, but I also have taught graduate courses on documentary cinema and revolutionary/activist movements in Spain and latin America, or even some very specifically focused seminars, for example on the cinema of Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and his transnational oeuvre.
Do you have any recent awards, honors, or publications that you would like to highlight?
I am currently holding a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship which is funding a book manuscript on blind filmmakers, and related to that work I can point to my article "Blind Cinema: reframing Visual Impairment in Shadow Girl" which just appeared in the latest issue of Disability Studies Quarterly. (You can see the article here: https://dsq-sds.org/index.php/dsq/article/view/7673/7593)
What is a book (academic or non-academic, in or outside your field) that you think should be more widely read?
As a film scholar I would like to recommend an excellent film by Luis Buñuel, perhaps one of the most transatlantic filmmakers ever, his 1950 classic "Los Olvidados" (The Young and the Damned), a still powerful indictment of urban inequality with global implications.
Is there any additional information or advice you'd like to share?
Film can teach us much about human nature and our contemporary world, despite its changing formats (as it moves online), it remains the literature of our time. Taking a film course can be extremely valuable, even transformative, regardless of a student's major. At the very least you may acquire a new set of tools for studying and understanding audiovisual media critically.