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Female Agency and Documentary Strategies

Subjectivities, Identity and Activism

Edited by Boel Ulfsdotter, Anna Backman Rogers

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Examines the politics of female authorship in relation to contemporary documentary practices

This book, like its twin volume Female Authorship and the Documentary Image, centres on pressing issues in relation to female authorship in contemporary documentary practices. Addressing the politics of representation and authorship both behind and in front of the camera, a range of international scholars now expand the theoretical and practical framework informing the current scholarship on documentary cinema, which has so far neglected questions of gender.

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Preface Kate Nash
Introduction Boel Ulfsdotter and Anna Backman Rogers

Chapter 1: KRISTOPHER FALLON: "The Pencil of Identity: Instagram as Inadvertent (Female) Autobiography"
Chapter 2: CADENCE KINSEY: "Archetype and Authenticity: Reflections on Amalia Ulman’s Excellences and Perfections"
Chapter 3: MONICA TITTON: "Blogging the Female Self: Authorship, Self-Performance and Identity Politics in Fashion Blogs"

Chapter 4: GAIL VANSTONE: "‘Scriptrix Narrans’ – Digital Documentary Storytelling’s Radical Potential"
Chapter 5: KIM MUNRO: "Hybrid Practices and Voice-Making in Contemporary Female Documentary Film"
Chapter 6: KERREEN ELY-HARPER: "Record Keeping: Family Memories on Film – Rea Tajiri’s History and Memory: For Akiko and Takashig and Wisdom Gone Wild"
Chapter 7: ANNA BACKMAN ROGERS: "Not Because My Heart Is Gone; Simply The Other Side": Francesca Woodman’s Relational and Ephemeral Subjectivity at the Limit of the Image"
Chapter 8: CARLA MAIA: "Other Women: Thinking Class and Gender in Contemporary
Interview: "Visualising Our Voices": Hong Kong Scholar and Film Director Vivian Wenli Lin, in Conversation With Boel Ulfsdotter"

Chapter 9: ANNA MISIAK: "From Visceral Style to Discourse of Resistance": Reading Alka Sadat’s Afghan Documentaries on Violence Against Women"
Chapter 10: JOHN A. RILEY: "Documenting Georgia in Transition: The Films of Salome Jashi and Nino Kirtadze"
Chapter 11: LIDIA MERAS: "Profession: Documentarist. Underground Documentary Making in Iran"
Interview: "Reflecting Through Images": The Documentaries of Mercedes Alvarez by Linda Ehrlich

About the Author

Boel Ulfsdotter is an independent fine arts scholar specialised in screen studies, currently affiliated with the Department of Cultural Sciences at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Anna Backman Rogers is a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Gothenberg, Sweden.


That women are at the forefront of new documentary practices and forms should come as no surprise. Documentary, whether those writing its history have recognised it properly or not, has always had its female innovators, dating all the way back to Esfir Shub and Ruby Grierson. The focus on authorship, in relation to significant shifts, both technological and cultural, is useful and important especially considering how implicitly gendered discussions of authorship have been historically. But perhaps the most exciting contribution of this book is its feminist updating of activist media, another male dominated area of film/media studies, and one in which women’s contribution has been nothing short of profound. This volume writes the history of the latest transformations in documentary with women filmmakers from all over the world, and not just the global north, at the center. It serves as a corrective and a model for future attempts to narrate that history going forward.

- Dr Alisa Lebow, University of Sussex

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