In this episode, our host Lucila Rozas discusses the book Latino TV: A History (NYU Press, 2022) by Mary Beltrán.

You’ll hear about:

  • A brief trajectory of the book and the conversations on global studies of media and communication with which this book engages;
  • The concept of cultural citizenship and its relevance to study Latino TV;
  • How the author puts together the traces of the history of Latino TV, especially in the cases when it was difficult to find information about the series that were not preserved/archived;
  • What has changed in the 2000s-2010s that led to the inclusion of more Latinx people in TV roles in front and behind the camera;
  • How the diversification of latinidad identities in the TV shows is related to race, class, and gender through specific characters or forms of storytelling;
  • The importance of Latino(a)(x) representation in the US TV industry and the potential limits of representation and visibility;
  • The role of Latinx activism in the 1960s and 70s and the legacy of public television on today’s media landscape;
  • Some recent developments on Latino TV after the publication of the book, particularly given the ongoing writers’ strike in streaming television.

About the book

The first-ever account of Latino/a participation and representation in US English-language television, Latino TV: A History offers a sweeping study of key moments of Chicano/a and Latino/a representation and authorship since the 1950s. Drawing on archival research, interviews with dozens of media professionals who worked on or performed in these series, textual analysis of episodes and promotional materials, and analysis of news media coverage, Mary Beltrán examines Latina/o representation in everything from children’s television Westerns of the 1950s, Chicana/o and Puerto Rican activist-led public affairs series of the 1970s, and sitcoms that spanned half a century, to Latina and Latino-led series in the 2000s and 2010s on broadcast, cable, and streaming outlets, including George Lopez, Ugly Betty, One Day at a Time, and Vida. You can find more about the book here by NYU Press.

Author: Mary Beltrán is the Associate Director and former Founding Director of the Moody College of Communication’s Latino Media Arts & Studies Program at the University of Texas at Austin. She specializes in critical studies-driven scholarship at the intersections of film and television studies, Latina/Latino and critical race studies, and gender studies. Informed by her prior careers as a journalist and social worker, Dr. Beltrán writes and teaches on ethnic diversity and the U.S. media industries, U.S. television and film history, mixed race and media culture, and feminist media studies, with emphasis on U.S. Latina and Latino representation and media production.

Host: Lucila Rozas is a doctoral student at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a doctoral fellow at Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication. She has developed interdisciplinary research in a wide variety of topics, from the strategies of LGBT+ activists to push for the approval of sexual orientation and gender identity policies to the representations of mental health in Peruvian print media. Her most recent academic work focuses on social media and the role it has in identity construction, discourse, activism, and social change.

Editor & Producer: Jing Wang

Keywords: Latino TV, Latinx identity, Cultural citizenship, Public Television, TV industry, Activism

Our podcast is part of the multimodal project powered by the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication (CARGC) at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. At CARGC, we produce and promote critical, interdisciplinary, and multimodal research on global media and communication. We aim to bridge academic scholarship and public life, bringing the very best scholarship to bear on enduring global questions and pressing contemporary issues.

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