SCMS 2022 pre-constituted panel proposal: New directions in women’s experimental film and media

deadline for submissions: 
August 10, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Society for Cinema and Media Studies
contact email: 

SCMS 2022 pre-constituted panel proposal:

New directions in women’s experimental film and media


It goes without saying that women’s involvement in and significant contributions to the independent film scene were feasible due to a marginal status of cinema in arts institutions as well as an artisanal mode and relatively low cost of experimental film production. Contrary to this trend, however, 20th century avant-garde film was still institutionalized as masculine with women’s work being peripheral and dismissed as excessively lyrical even if occasionally acknowledged in women’s film festival and feminist journals. While following the release of Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon more and more women filmmakers have excelled at the production of small-scale film and video and created a wide range of works, only few of them have entered into the post-1980s film criticism when women’s film has received more attention from feminist theorists and film historians (Fischer 1989; Kuhn 1983; Mayne 1990; Rich 1998; MacDonald 2007; Dixon and ‎ Foster 2002; Kaplan 2013). Consequently, despite the growing number of publications (Petrolle and Wexman 2005; Blaetz 2007; Hoffman 2010; Keller 2014, 2021), including the 2021 special issue of Cinéma & Cie, which reconsider the work of some key women makers, there exists a number of underrepresented works that challenge the hegemonic master narratives and undermine the image of majority groups and interests, continuously breaking the taboos and censorship of the mainstream (film) culture.


To fill this gap, the panel aims to expand the canon of and fill a lacuna in the history of women’s experimental film and media and highlight the work of female artists working outside of feminist theory and on the margins of the avant-garde, including those using traditional (8 mm or 16 mm) and new (hybrid) media formats. In doing so, it seeks to compensate for insufficient research on women’s experimental audio-visual production and welcomes contributions that discuss works of both renowned and less known experimental filmmakers (e.g. Latin American, Black, African, Afro-American, Asian, Asian-American, indigenous, North American, European, etc.), particularly those working on the periphery of the avant-garde film practice, whose work transcends a solely Anglo-American and/or national perspective.


Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

- histories of women’s experimental film and media at the margins of institutions and of research

- women’s experimental film and media practice in various national, regional, local and transnational contexts

- international and comparative perspectives on women’s experimental film and media

- explorations of women’s experimental film and media in a wider historical and theoretical perspective

- new historical and theoretical approaches to the study of women’s experimental film and media

- women’s indigenous production

- women’s on-screen representation

- production and circulation of women’s experimental film and media


This panel will be proposed for inclusion in the SCMS 2022 Conference:


Please send paper proposals (or any inquiries) to Dr. Kornelia Boczkowska ( by August 10, 2021. Proposals should include a title (max. 120 characters), abstract (max. 2500 characters), 3-5 bibliographic sources and a bio (max. 500 characters). I will reply to all panelists around mid-August.