Elaine Roth, professor of film studies in IU South Bend’s English department, has been named a Fulbright Scholar for 2022-2023. In January, she will travel to Mexico City, where she will teach and serve as a U.S. Studies Chair at the Ibero-American University (Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de Mexico.)
Also, from now on, when people ask her about her Fulbright, she will need to have them specify which one. Roth was named a Fulbright Scholar for the first time in 2010-2011. That time, she lectured in American literature, cinema, and cultural studies at Complutense University of Madrid in Spain.
Her initial assignment in Madrid was to teach a course in U.S. cinema for a rather small graduate-student class, with only a handful of students. However, when one of the school’s other professors fell ill, Roth gladly agreed to fill in and teach a second class of undergraduates. She is bringing a similar spirit of open-mindedness to her upcoming responsibilities in Mexico City.
Her initial Fulbright proposal involved her work on an ongoing project about women screenwriters from the silent era of films in the United States, newly expanded to include Mexican screenwriters. But during her interview with the faculty from the Ibero-American University, she mentioned a separate class she recently taught at IUSB on the topic of Black directors in America.
The faculty in Mexico City really seized upon that, because they’re interested in the U.S. racial justice movement, Roth said. They ended up asking me if I would teach that class instead.
Roth received her bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College in 1990 and her master’s from the University of Virginia in 1994, both in English. In 1999, she completed her Ph.D. in American literature and film studies at the University of Oregon. She began teaching at IU South Bend as an assistant professor in 2001. She was promoted to associate professor in 2007 and then full professor in 2015.
I was particularly excited about the opportunity to teach in Mexico because I have led IUSB’s Oaxaca study abroad program (in 2012, 2013 and 2018), and that trip generally involves a couple of days in Mexico City, so I’ve been there before with students and was happy to consider coming back, Roth said.
Although Roth speaks Spanish, the classes in the U.S. Studies programs are given in English.
These students in Mexico are majoring in U.S. Studies, so they want to take classes in English and hear lectures in English, Roth said.
Roth visited a different university in Mexico City in 2018, but she has not yet been on the campus of the Ibero-American University.
I’ve not yet been to the neighborhood it’s in Mexico City is so huge so I’ve got so much to learn, Roth said. It’s going to be a big adventure.