David Inczauskis, S.J. celebrates book launch at McDonald Memorial Library
By Hunter Ellis, Multimedia Managing Editor
Professor David Inczauskis celebrated the culmination of four years of writing and research yesterday during the U.S. launch of his new book, El cine hondureño: arte, identidad y política (Honduran Cinema: Art, Identity and Politics).
The launch was held at McDonald Memorial Library and featured an introduction by Spanish Professor José María Mantero, who specializes in Latin American literature and helped edit the book.
A professor in the Department of Classics and Modern Languages and member of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, Inczauskis noted that he received inspiration for his work over 10 years ago during a research trip to Guatemala focused on human rights for women and children.
“I was introduced to the political situation of Central America, as it was impossible for me to understand the struggles of human rights of women and children without understanding the historical, political and economic context,” Inczauskis said.
Inczauskis said it was through this trip that he fell in love with Central America, and he was eager to return to the region when another Jesuit invited him to spend a summer there.
During that summer, Inczauskis worked with the Jesuit social justice ministry Radio Progreso which reported on protests, human rights violations and suffering across Honduras.
“I discovered that, as a scholar, it is very important for me to do work that is going to be beneficial for oppressed peoples,” he said.
One way Inczauskis found useful to better understand the Honduran culture was through their cinematography.
“Film really has a capacity — even though sometimes it’s fiction — to help demonstrate what our reality is and what someone else’s reality is, someone who we otherwise might not have been able to empathize with,” Inczauskis said.
His scholarship to have a particular emphasis on Honduran film, starting with his first book La Fragua: el teatro jesuita de Centroamérica) (The Forge: Jesuit Theater of Central America) and his masters thesis focused on Honduran film.
“I presented that thesis to the Film Library in Honduras, and the Film Library said ‘Keep going, this is good stuff, continue writing.’ So I did that. Now, two years later, we have the book,” he said.
Two films that Inczauskis noted had a particular influence on his study include the 2001 film Anita, la cazadora de insectos (Anita, the Insect Hunter), a commentary on patriarchy and consumerism, and ¿Quién dijo miedo? (Who Said Fear?), a documentary on the 2009 Honduran coup d’etat.
Inczauskis noted that while he was excited for the U.S. launch this week, the Hondoran launch on March 8 was particularly significant for him.
“It was meaningful because I dedicated the book to the Honduran people. I published the book in Spanish and also published it with a Honduran editorial publishing house,” Inczauskis said.
“A lot of times, scholars from the United States can take advantage of cultural artifacts from the third world and nations that have suffered years and years of oppression and then use it for their own profit and scholarship in the United States,” he said.
He added that it was important for the work to be published in Spanish as to not take advantage of the Honduran people and their history.
While the book is currently only published in Spanish, Inczauskis noted that he hopes there will be an English translation in the future.
He also hopes the Xavier community is able to enjoy and to learn from the text, whether that be for the detailed analysis of the films or for the broader social context it offers.
“I think that the book would provide Xavier students and faculty a window into struggles of people that they may not otherwise ever see or experience without being there in person,” he said.
“…also if someone wants to work on their Spanish,” he added with a laugh.
A free digital copy of the book is available online at academia.edu.
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