Early Puerto Rican Cinema and Nation Building: National Sentiments, Transnational Realities, 1897-1940

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Early Puerto Rican Cinema and Nation Building focuses on the processes of Puerto Rican national identity formation as seen through the historical development of cinema on the island between 1897 and 1940. Anchoring her work in archival sources in film technology, economy, and education, Naida Garcia-Crespo argues that Puerto Rico's position as a stateless nation allows for a fresh understanding of national cinema based on perceptions of productive cultural contributions rather than on citizenship or state structures. This book aims to contribute to recently expanding discussions of cultural networks by analyzing how Puerto Rican cinema navigates the problems arising from the connection and/or disjunction between nation and state. The author argues that Puerto Rico's position as a stateless nation puts pressure on traditional conceptions of national cinema, which tend to rely on assumptions of state support or a bounded nation-state. She also contends that the cultural and business practices associated with early cinema reveal that transnationalism is an integral part of national identities and their development. Garcia-Crespo shows throughout this book that the development and circulation of cinema in Puerto Rico illustrate how the 'national' is built from transnational connections.