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Professor Andrea Noble, BA Cantab, PhD Birmingham

Professor [Research Leave 2015-16] in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43434
Room number: ER214, Elvet Riverside II

(email at


Andrea Noble is a Latin Americanist with research interests in visual culture studies -- particularly film and photography -- and Mexican cultural history. Her work to date has engaged with a range of methodological approaches, including those derived from feminist and gender studies, cultural memory, history of the emotions, reception and spectatorship, semiotics, and visual anthropology. There are two strands to her current research and writing projects:

The first is provisionally called 'Tears in Mexico: A cultural History of Emotions and Motivations' and explores public acts of weeping in Mexico, ranging from 'la noche triste', when Hernán Cortés, fleeing from the Aztecs, is supposed to have sat down under a cypress tree and wept, through the extravagant tears that Pancho Villa shed beside the tomb of Francisco Madero in December 1914, to José López Portillo's last address to the nation in September 1982, when he wept in front of the TV cameras and nationa. By homing in on emblematic moments of weeping, the aim is to probe the 'feeling rules' in operation at given historical moments, raising questions related to power, gender, class, morality, etc. This project has been funded by a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship (2013-2015) and involves two years based at the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

The second is called Cold War Camera and is an international collaboration with Professor Thy Phu of Western University, Canada. It explores questions of visuality – of what can (and cannot) be seen, known, and felt – that stand at the center of the cultural politics of the Cold War and its legacies. Prosecuted on multiple fronts, and in diverse modalities, the global Cold War is characterized by its unevenly distributed material reality, and imaginative and affective structures that vary according to location. In some sites, such as the United States, lacking material reality, a heightened state of fear and anxiety was imaginatively and affectively produced in order to justify policy and spending decisions to prosecute the war. Meanwhile, however, in non-metropolitan locations across the globe -- from Chile to North Korea – vicious civil wars and extreme violence took place in front of people’s very eyes, and, to differing degrees, the ‘eyes of the world’ – equally generating imaginative and affective effects. In short, we may think we know what the Cold War looks like: it’s the 'mushroom cloud' of nuclear annihilation, Korda’s portrait of Che Guevara, or the East German soldier jumping over the barbed wire to West Berlin. However, visual culture is more than just a colorful backdrop to history; it also integrally shapes the way in which this history was, and continues to be, seen, known, experienced and felt.

Postgraduate Supervision: Andrea is keen to supervise most topics within the general fields of her research interests. Topics she has supervised or is currently supervising include: the cinematography of Gabriel Figueroa; photography and the memory of political violence in Argentina and Peru; photography, women and war in the Americas; photography, race and visual rights; representations of the other in documentary media in France; masculinity and violence in 'golden-age' Mexican cinema.

Public Engagement : Andrea has spoken about her research on film and photography across a range of public venues and media, including Cornerhouse (Manchester); the British Musuem; The Royal Court; The Photographers' Gallery; Impressions Gallery, The British Academy, the Fototeca Nacional, El Museo Nacional de la Revolución, BBC Radio 3. In March 2012 she was selected to participate as a jury member on the panel to select the best Ibero-American feature film at Latin America's premier Festival Internacional de Cine de Guadalajara (

Selected Publications

Books: authored

Books: edited

Essays in edited volumes

Journal papers: academic

Show all publications

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Language, Literature & the Arts: Mexican film and photography
  • Visual culture: Mexican Revolution