Contesting the Gaze: Gender and Genre in Hispanic Women's Filmmaking (NeMLA Roundtable 2019)
50 NeMLA Convention, March 21-24, 2019 in Washington D.C.
In Ways of Seeing (1974), John Berger notes that the idea of gaze has been traditionally defined as masculine, for there is an underlying assumption that “men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at” (47). Berger’s observation unravels a pan-cultural, hegemonic scopic regime, which oftentimes privileges men’s perspective and situates them at the center of narratives, thus leaving women’s experience on the margins of the collective imaginary. Alongside with other crucial categories (such as class, race, or age), gender structures pervasively this dominant way of seeing and understanding the world. Therefore, the notion of gaze becomes a key concept in cultural production, for whoever casts the gaze controls the narrative, representation, and, ultimately, history.
Amidst today’s popular feminist resurgence, propelled by the #MeToo movement and echoed by many other initiatives that have revived transnationally on-going debates on representation and identity in popular culture, we consider it is necessary to revisit and examine the notion of gaze in the works of women filmmakers, especially in connection with film genres. This roundtable plains to discuss some of the following questions: what happens when women are the ones who look? Is there a female gaze versus a male gaze? Is it appropriate to talk about a female gaze given the importance of other intersecting categories? How do film genres affect the articulation of the gaze and narrative? What are the distinct film generic conventions that engender the gaze and what does this entail?
This roundtable seeks submissions that explore, complicate, or challenge the traditional notion of gaze in connection with film genres in works by women filmmakers from Latin America, Spain, and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. Of particular interest are papers focusing on directors who conceive of their work as a space to contest hegemonic practices of looking, and who propose new perspectives and narratives through the creative use of generic conventions as a way to enrich current national collective imaginaries. Abstracts in Spanish or English are welcome.
Submit abstracts to the CfP URL below by September 30, 2018.