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Filmmaker infuses diversity into cinema

Filmmaker infuses diversity into cinema


Romanian born Mariangela Mihai, an anthropology and film Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University, researches overlapping nationalisms, identity and ethnicity in Mizoram, a Northeast Indian state bordering Myanmar which was formerly Burma.

She will lead a discussion on collaborative ethnofiction filmmaking with indigenous LGBT activists, on Monday, March 9, at SUNY Cortland.

Her talk, titled “I Am a Whisper, My Dear,” will be held at 4:30 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 205.

Mariangela Mihai

Mihai and other experts will be sharing their experiences and work at SUNY Cortland in March as the university celebrates Women’s History Month with a packed schedule of events.

Ethnofiction refers to a blend of documentary and fictional film in the area of visual anthropology. It is a film type in which, by means of fictional narrative or creative imagination, often improvising, the portrayed characters — natives — play their own roles as members of an ethnic or social group.

Mihai has worked as a graduate assistant on issues of refugee political resettlement at the Emory Center for Ethics and as an intern for the International Rescue Committee.

A graduate from Emory University in Atlanta with a B.A. in anthropology, Mihai has three select film projects.

  • “To Uphold the Law (2014)” explores ideologies of nationalism and anti-drone activism in Upstate N.Y.
  • “Nobel Nok Dah (2015)” offers an intimate view into the lives of three refugee women from Burma.
  • “For My Art (2016),” a two-channel video installation, explores the sensorial landscape of transition-era Burma/Myanmar through the figure of the performance artist.

“Valiant Women of the Vote,” the national theme of Women’s History Month, celebrates both the brave women who fought for suffrage, as well as those who currently continue the struggle for representation and equity.

“This year’s focus is especially timely as we simultaneously celebrate a century of women’s suffrage and look forward to a presidential election,” said Jena Nichols Curtis, director of the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies and coordinator of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

The Women’s History Month focus also involves the LGBT community, migration and immigration.

As part of Women’s History Month, the university’s Sexual, Orientation and Gender Identity Committee will once again host “TransAction.” This second annual day-long conference, held on Friday, March 6, will address the experiences of and best practices for welcoming transgender and gender non-conforming individuals on college campuses.

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. The Women’s History Month schedule of events also includes:

  • Tuesday, March 3: “Andrea Stern, Concert and Celtic Harpist” at 7 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium. Tickets are $10 general admission; $8 senior citizens (age 60 and older); and $3 students. Children 10 and under admitted free.
  • Wednesday, March 4: “Leading Changes in United Nations Organizations?” a Sandwich Seminar by Catherine Bertini at 12:30 p.m. in the Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.
  • Thursday, March 5: “Nigerian Wives Wishing to Join their Husbands: Gender, Fictive Kinship, and Illicit Trans-Colonial Mobilities” a Sandwich Seminar by Dr. Ndubueze L. Mbah at noon in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.
  • Thursday, March 5: “Empowered Women Empower Women: A Gender Equity Program for Students” from 4:15 to 6 p.m. in the Corey Union Exhibition Lounge.
  • Friday, March 6: “TransAction 2020: The Second Annual Conference on Issues Related to Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Individuals on College Campuses” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Corey Union Exhibition Lounge. The event is free for SUNY Cortland students, faculty and staff and $15 for all others. Register at
  • CANCELLED/TO BE RESCHEDULED/Tuesday, March 10: “The History of Discriminatory Lending Practices in the U.S. and its Role in Perpetuating Intergenerational Inequality” by David Freund from the University of Maryland at 5 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.
  • Tuesday, March 10: “Gender Inclusive Climbing” at 10 p.m. at the Student Life Center Climbing Wall.
  • THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED. ORGANIZERS WILL TRY TO RESCHEDULE FOR A LATER DATE. Thursday, March 12: “An Afternoon with Cheryl Strayed” will begin at noon in Old Main Colloquium Room. This sandwich seminar discussion is open only to SUNY Cortland students, faculty and staff. For more information, contact Heather Bartlett or John Leffel. The event is sponsored by Distinguished Voices in Literature.

More information on upcoming Women’s History Month events will be posted in future Bulletin editions.

Women’s History Month Events are sponsored by: Advisement and Transition; the Campus Artist and Lectures Series; the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies; the Disability Resources Office; the Economics Department; the History Department; the Geography Department; Hillel; the International Studies Program; the Institutional Equity and Inclusion Office; the Clark Center for Global Engagement; the Gender Policies and Initiatives Council; the It’s On Us Action Team; Jewish Studies; the New York Public Interest Research Group; the Memorial Library ; Outdoor Pursuits; the President’s Office; the Sexual Orientation, Gender, Identity, and Expression Committee (SOGIE); Disability Resources; the Student Government Association; the SUNY Cortland Chapter of the American Association of University Women; and the TransAfrica Project.

For more information, contact Curtis at 607-753-2979.

Prepared by Communications Office writing intern Victoria Van Every