Zecchi Named Director of Interdepartmental Film Studies Program

Barbara Zecchi
Barbara Zecchi

Barbara Zecchi, professor of Spanish and Portuguese studies in the department of languages, literatures and cultures, has been named director of the interdepartmental program in film studies.

She replaces recently retired professor Cathy Portuges, whose leadership over the years was essential in building the program and establishing the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival as a preeminent cultural event. Shawn Shimpach, communication, will serve as director of the film festival, which will celebrate its 25th season in spring 2018.

“Cathy Portuges’s leadership has molded the program’s collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach to the study of film,” says Julie C. Hayes, dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, who jointly appointed Zecchi with dean John A. Hird of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “Professor Zecchi’s background in film theory and her prolific output of writing and video-essays in combination with her leadership uniquely qualify her for the role. I’m excited to see how she will move the program forward.”

Zecchi joined the faculty in 2005. In addition to her role as professor of Spanish and Portuguese studies, she served as co-director of the Digital Humanities Institute and director of the Translation Center.

Her research and teaching interests include European and Latin American cinema, feminist film theory, film adaptation theory, gender studies and the use of technology in the humanities.

In addition to a dozen video-graphic essays presented in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Italy and Mexico, she has authored 50 articles and book chapters, three monographic books and seven edited volumes.

Her first monograph, “Desenfocadas/Out of Focus” develops an analysis of the historical evolution of women in film production through four generations of Spanish women directors. “La pantalla sexuada/The Gendered Screen” is a cross-sectional study of the major concepts that have been influential in feminist film theory. “El género del género/The Gender of Genres” (in progress) focuses on the most common genres of women film production, such as melodrama, comedy and thriller, among others.