ReFocus: The Films of Roberta Findlay

deadline for submissions: 
August 31, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Whitney Strub/Rutgers University-Newark
contact email: 

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ReFocus: The Films of Roberta Findlay

Few filmmakers were more central to both 1960s sexploitation/grindhouse cinema and 1970s hardcore film, not to mention 1980s horror b-movies, than Roberta Findlay, an underappreciated jack-of-all-trades who wrote, directed, worked cameras and lighting, and acted, among other production roles. Yet few women filmmakers have so emphatically rejected the label of feminist, forestalling any facile recuperative efforts. Findlay broke new ground for women in film even as she sneered at the notion, with a legacy extending across genres and decades, from Take Me Naked (1966), to A Woman’s Torment (1977), to Tenement (1985). Cult and porn aficionados have long hailed Findlay’s expansive and idiosyncratic body of work, locating her in a canon alongside Andy Milligan, Doris Wishman, Joe Sarno, and other luminaries of the cinematic underbelly. But scholars have been slower to attend to her, perhaps in part because her fragmented filmography was partly pseudonymous and even today remains partly lost. We are currently soliciting abstracts of approximately 100-200 words for essays to be included in a book-length anthology on Roberta Findlay to appear in 2021. As the first comprehensive study of Findlay’s career, this collection seeks to deepen our understanding of the filmmaker and build on existing existing fan-culture knowledge by bringing that into dialogue with ongoing scholarly discussions of exploitation film and pornography so that scholarly communities can better attend to Findlay’s work and its rich, complex sexual and textual politics and stylistic skill and innovation. Essays may focus on individual films or on themes and topics that pervade her work. Possible areas of inquiry could include: Findlay’s striking sexploitation collaborations with her then-partner Michael Findlay; her turn to hardcore and the evolution of her style across the 1970s; the role of horror in her oeuvre; the craftsmanship of her non-directorial work; sexual and gender politics; marketing, distribution, and reception of her work across time; or other creative and productive angles. Essays included in the refereed anthology will be of approximately 5,000 to 8,000 words, referenced in Chicago endnote style. We especially welcome work from BIPOC, female, queer, and trans scholars, and other traditionally underrepresented groups and voices. The Films of Roberta Findlay will be one of the scholarly editions to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press in a series of anthologies examining overlooked American film directors. Series editors are Robert Singer, Ph.D., Frances Smith, Ph.D. and Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D. Please attach a curriculum vitae to your abstract and email them directly to the anthology’s editors by August 31, 2020. Peter Alilunas, Associate Professor, Cinema Studies Department, University of Oregon: pka@uoregon.eduWhitney Strub, Associate Professor, History Department, Rutgers University-Newark: wstrub@gmail.com