A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema

Duke University Press
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A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema marks a new era of feminist film scholarship. The twenty essays collected here demonstrate how feminist historiographies at once alter and enrich ongoing debates over visuality and identification, authorship, stardom, and nationalist ideologies in cinema and media studies. Drawing extensively on archival research, the collection yields startling accounts of women's multiple roles as early producers, directors, writers, stars, and viewers. It also engages urgent questions about cinema's capacity for presenting a stable visual field, often at the expense of racially, sexually, or class-marked bodies.

While fostering new ways of thinking about film history, A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema illuminates the many questions that the concept of "early cinema" itself raises about the relation of gender to modernism, representation, and technologies of the body. The contributors bring a number of disciplinary frameworks to bear, including not only film studies but also postcolonial studies, dance scholarship, literary analysis, philosophies of the body, and theories regarding modernism and postmodernism.

Reflecting the stimulating diversity of early cinematic styles, technologies, and narrative forms, essays address a range of topics—from the dangerous sexuality of the urban flâneuse to the childlike femininity exemplified by Mary Pickford, from the Shanghai film industry to Italian diva films—looking along the way at birth-control sensation films, French crime serials, "war actualities," and the stylistic influence of art deco. Recurring throughout the volume is the protean figure of the New Woman, alternately garbed as childish tomboy, athletic star, enigmatic vamp, languid diva, working girl, kinetic flapper, and primitive exotic.

Contributors. Constance Balides, Jennifer M. Bean, Kristine Butler, Mary Ann Doane, Lucy Fischer, Jane Gaines, Amelie Hastie, Sumiko Higashi, Lori Landay, Anne Morey, Diane Negra, Catherine Russell, Siobhan B. Somerville, Shelley Stamp, Gaylyn Studlar, Angela Dalle Vacche, Radha Vatsal, Kristen Whissel, Patricia White, Zhang Zhen

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About the author

Jennifer M. Bean is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Cinema Studies at the University of Washington.

Diane Negra is Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of East Anglia.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
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Published on
Oct 31, 2002
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Pages
592
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ISBN
9780822383840
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Performing Arts / Film / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Over the past decade or so, Irishness has emerged as an idealized ethnicity, one with which large numbers of people around the world, and particularly in the United States, choose to identify. Seeking to explain the widespread appeal of all things Irish, the contributors to this collection show that for Americans, Irishness is rapidly becoming the white ethnicity of choice, a means of claiming an ethnic identity while maintaining the benefits of whiteness. At the same time, the essayists challenge essentialized representations of Irishness, bringing attention to the complexities of Irish history and culture that are glossed over in Irish-themed weddings and shamrock tattoos.

Examining how Irishness is performed and commodified in the contemporary transnational environment, the contributors explore topics including Van Morrison’s music, Frank McCourt’s writing, the explosion of Irish-themed merchandising, the practices of heritage seekers, the movie The Crying Game, and the significance of red hair. Whether considering the implications of Garth Brooks’s claim of Irishness and his enormous popularity in Ireland, representations of Irish masculinity in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, or Americans’ recourse to a consoling Irishness amid the racial and nationalist tensions triggered by the events of September 11, the contributors delve into complex questions of ethnicity, consumerism, and globalization. Ultimately, they call for an increased awareness of the exclusionary effects of claims of Irishness and for the cultivation of flexible, inclusive ways of affiliating with Ireland and the Irish.

Contributors. Natasha Casey, Maeve Connolly, Catherine M. Eagan, Sean Griffin, Michael Malouf, Mary McGlynn, Gerardine Meaney, Diane Negra, Lauren Onkey, Maria Pramaggiore, Stephanie Rains, Amanda Third

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