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A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema (Camera Obscura Book) [Paperback]

Jennifer M. Bean , Diane Negra

Price: 20.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Nov 2002 Camera Obscura Book
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 flaneuse 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, and Zhang Zhen.

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"Drawing extensively on archival research, the collections 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 classmarked bodies."--Mev Miller, Feminist Academic Press Column "[T]his book covers rich ground... [F]ilm historians and feminist media scholars will want to own this book. In addition, the book provides links between the escape of women from the cultural constraints of nineteenth century and the evolution of film in the twentieth. In doing so, it provides a perspective from which ideological inquires may be framed."--Mark Goodman, Journal of Film and Video "[A] richly detailed and kaleidoscopic vision of gender as filtered through the lens of the early film industry..."--Linda S. Coleman, The Journal of American Culture "Every reader will find their own favourites in this smorgasbord... If your own interest in early cinema is already established, you will find something stimulating and provocative here, in the wide range of topics and approaches on offer. If you are just entering this territory, this collection provides a rich selection to whet your appetite for further explorations."--Ina Bertrand, Screening the Past Also reviewed in CHOICE. Listed in Film Comment, Women's Review of Books, and boundary 2.

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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