608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801
José B. Capino is a two-time Fulbright fellow, a winner of the Association for Asian American Studies book prize, and a grand prize winner of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies dissertation award. His work is informed by rigorous multi-archival research as well as critical perspectives in cinema studies and cultural theory. With fellowship support from the University of Illinois and the Andrew Mellon Foundation he has recently completed further training in the digital humanities and ethnography.
Capino's scholarship focuses on narrative cinema and documentary film and video in US and Philippine contexts. His areas of interest are in colonial and decolonial visuality, melodrama, transnational and transcultural media, film historiography, and sexuality in the media.
His most recent book, Martial Law Melodrama: Lino Brocka’s Cinema Politics (U of California Press), studies political discourse in the films of the internationally renowned Filipino director. Drawing extensively from primary sources and archival material, the book offers a textured account of anti-authoritarian politics in commercial and independent cinema. Martial Law Melodrama engages in a timely discussion of how popular cinema--especially melodrama--registers and responds to authoritarian spells.
He is completing two related book projects: Decolonizing The Transcultural Archives of US Empire and Projections of Empire: A Decolonial History of US Documentary Cinema. In Decolonizing The Transcultural Archives of US Empire, Capino uses historically overlooked archival objects to illuminate the fundamental role played by US imperialism in the Philippines in reconfiguring four internationally oriented "genres" of late 19th and 20th century American cultural production, namely: stage and film melodrama, travel films, travel writings, and anticommunist docu-drama. Focusing on the historiography and interpretation of neglected texts, many of which Capino has helped unearth, this book intervenes in decolonial investigations of transculturalism under American empire and debates about the broad impact of the colonial management of alterity on US cultural productions.
Projections of Empire examines the changing ways in which US expansionism and presence overseas have been constructed in nonfiction films and videos about its former colonial possession. This study of colonial and decolonial visuality considers a wide range of films, from late 19th century movies about the Philippine-American War to 21st-century direct cinema documentaries about the travails of Filipina émigrés recruited to teach in American inner cities. The product of two decades of research at archives all over the US and in the Philippines, this book discusses many recently rediscovered films. Apart from offering a fulsome treatment of banal and monumental imperialism in nonfiction cinema, Projections of Empire offers a parallel history of US documentary filmmaking from a minoritized perspective.This study is based on “Cinema and the Spectacle of Colonialism,” winner of the 2003 Dissertation Award from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies.
Capino's first book, Dream Factories of A Former Colony: American Fantasies, Philippine Cinema (U of Minnesota Press, 2010) illuminates the decolonial imaginary of Filipino movies, focusing on work from the 1970s to the early 2000s. The book, a reconsideration of Philippine film history through the lens of postcolonial critique, won the cultural studies book prize from the Association of Asian American Studies in 2012.
Capino has published much-cited essays on Philippine cinema, American moving image erotica, and postcolonial critiques of film in such venues as Film Comment, Cinema Journal, and Animation Journal. He penned the teleplay of an award-winning documentary on the Philippine National Hero José P. Rizal broadcast on Philippine television and has translated both classic and contemporary world drama for the Cultural Center of the Philippines. His essay "A Proletarian Inferno" appears in the Criterion Collection's DVD and Blu-ray editions of Brocka's Manila in the Claws of Light (1976). His video essay and liner notes are featured in a newly released Blu-ray disc of Lino Brocka's Cain and Abel from Kani Releasing/Vinegar Syndrome. His essays on Khavn's Balangiga: Howling Wilderness, Gerard Damiano's Deep Throat, Peque Gallaga's Scorpio Nights, Philippine indie cinema, and Clint Eastwood's American Sniper are recently out or due soon.
Film/Visual Culture, Documentary Cinema, Postcolonial Criticism, Gender/Sexuality Studies, Asian American Studies, Philippine Studies
Ph.D. in Radio/Television/Film, Northwestern University
M.A. in Radio/Television/Film (Film Production), Northwestern University
Film/Visual Culture, Post-colonial, Theory & Criticism, Gender/Sexuality Studies
- Documentary Film and Video
- American Documentary
- Film Historiography,Cultures of US Imperialism
- American Independent Cinema
- Survey of International Cinema I
- American Cinema Since 1950, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese
- Introduction to Film
- Proseminar in the Teaching of Film
Additional Campus Affiliations
Professor, Asian American Studies
Professor, Gender and Women's Studies
Professor, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
Professor, Media and Cinema Studies
Professor, Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies
Honors & Awards
Fulbright Research Fellowship, January-May 2016
Winner of the 2012 Book Award in Cultural Studies from the Association for Asian American Studies
Asian Cultural Council Research Project Grant, 2001-2002
Dissertation Award (Grand Prize), Society for Cinema and Media Studies, 2003
Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, 1996-1999
Prize for Research in the Humanities, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, 2017
Capino, J. B. (2020). Martial Law Melodrama: Lino Brocka’s cinema politics. University of California Press.
Capino, J. B. (2010). Dream Factories of a Former Colony: American Fantasies, Philippine Cinema. University of Minnesota Press. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttv4md
Capino, J. B. (2022). A Hallucinatory History of The Philippine-American War: Khavn’s Balangiga: Howling Wilderness. In N. A. Kwon, T. Odagiri, & M. Baek (Eds.), Theorizing Colonial Cinemas: Reframing Production, Circulation, and Consumption of Film in Asia (pp. 214-241). (New Directions in National Cinemas). Indiana University Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv22wtqq6.14
Capino, J. B. (Actor). (2022). Cain and Abel: An Appreciation [Video Essay]. Digital or Visual Products, Kani Releasing, distributed by Vinegar Syndrome.
Capino, J. B., & Manalansan, M. F. (Eds.) (2021). Anti-Martial Law: Special issue co-edited with Martin Manalansan IV. Alon, 1(3). https://escholarship.org/uc/alonfilipinxjournal/1/3
Capino, J. B., & Manalansan, M. F. (2021). Introduction: New Filipino American Scholarship on the Marcosian Era. Alon, 1(3), 265-277. https://doi.org/10.5070/LN41355440
Capino, J. B. (2021). Review of "Nightcrawlers". Alon, 1(1), 100-103. https://doi.org/10.5070/LN41152410