New Directions in Feminist Media Studies
Proposed ACLA (American Comparative Literature Association) seminar, Los Angeles, March 29-April 1, 2018Organizer: Keri Walsh, Fordham UniversityMedia Studies is currently embarked upon a period of substantial revision when it comes to understanding the roles women have played in every domain of production and reception. An important wave of this reassessment has focused on film, and on Hollywood film in particular, challenging the notion that women were powerless pawns in silent and classical Hollywood and beyond. An early incarnation of this movement is Antonia Lant and Ingrid Periz’s anthology Red Velvet Seat: Women’s Writings on the Cinema: The First Fifty Years (2006), which brings together a rich variety of writings by authors including Maya Deren, Virginia Woolf, Colette, and Lillian Gish that might provide starting places for new feminist film histories and theories. Other recent interventions include Kirsten Pullen’s Like a Natural Woman: Spectacular Female Performance in Classical Hollywood (2014) which explores the development of naturalist film acting techniques by performers including Carmen Miranda and Lena Horne; Shelley Stamp’s Lois Weber in Early Hollywood (2015) which argues that Weber “was considered one of the era’s “three great minds” alongside D. W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille;”; and Jennifer Smyth’s forthcoming Nobody’s Girl Friday: The Women Who Ran Hollywood which promises to be “a new history of Hollywood that puts women at the center of production.” The momentum surrounding the re-telling of film history to include women promises to extend to all quarters of media studies. Works that already broach this broader terrain include Jennifer Christine Nash’s The Black Body in Ecstasy: Reading Race, Reading Pornography (2014) and Christine Ehrick’s Radio and the Gendered Soundscape: Women and Broadcasting in Argentina and Uruguay, 1930-1950 (2015).This seminar seeks papers that contribute to this significant new direction in media studies, and that extend to new areas of inquiry. Papers might work to answer questions such as: How does new work on women and media have the potential to alter, challenge, or transform existing canonical concepts in the study of media, such as auteurship, montage, aura, seriality, or melodrama? What new concepts might emerge as significant in light of this work? Who are, or might be, some of the key figures and foundational works for this new set of histories? How and where is the presence of women’s authorship in evidence even in works that have traditionally been attributed to men? How might we challenge and expand our methodologies so that we can see women’s contributions more clearly? How can these new media histories be constructed as inclusively as possible, so as not to replicate the logics of exclusion that have characterized media histories of the past? In what newly enabling ways might we understand issues of technology and disciplinarity in relation to women’s role in the creation and reception of media, whether as performers, writers, technicians, producers, audiences, theorists, scholars?
Submit 250-word abstracts to Keri Walsh email@example.com by September 21, 2017.
(This is an ACLA session that is not yet guaranteed).