27 May 2024 | Story Anthony Mthembu | Photo Supplied
Prof Martin Rossouw
Prof Martin Rossouw; Head of the Department of Art History and Image Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Prof Martin Rossouw, Head of the Department of Art History and Image Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS), and Prof Julian Hanich from the University of Groningen, have been honoured with the 2024 Ray and Pat Browne Best Edited Collection in Popular and American Culture award for their book, ‘What Film Is Good For: On the Values of Spectatorship’.  This prestigious award, presented by the Popular Culture Association (PCA) was officially announced on 29 March 2024 at the PCA’s annual national conference in Chicago.

Although Prof Rossouw and Prof Hanich were unable to attend the award ceremony, they expressed their delight and surprise at receiving this recognition. ‘’The award ultimately underlines the significance of having been fortunate enough to make this project happen in the first place,’’ said Prof Rossouw.

The award-winning book

According to Prof Rossouw, ‘What Film Is Good For: On the Values of Spectatorship’, which has been several years in the making, aims to analyse the various values of film, with a particular focus on the spectator's experience. The book features essays from over thirty international film scholars and critics, including notable contributors such as Tom Gunning from the University of Chicago, Dr Michele Aron from the University of Warwick, and British Film director Mike Figgis. Prof Rossouw attributes the book’s success to these esteemed contributors, stating, ’’ What makes us especially grateful for this endorsement of our book by the PCA is that it's ultimately a testimony to the wonderful range of essays of our contributors, without whom the volume could not have happened.”

Looking ahead 

Prof Rossouw and Prof Hanich believe that the book represents a new approach to thinking about the ethics of film. By placing the question of ‘the good’ or the value of cinema at the heart of film ethics, they hope to further develop this perspective. The volume will also be featured in a series of discussions by panels at the upcoming Vrystaat Arts Festival in July 2024. 

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