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Feminist Film Theory

A Reader

Edited by Sue Thornham

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This anthology brings together the key statements from the main debates in feminist film theory in Britain and the United States since 1970. The book maps the impact of major theoretical developments - structuralist and semiotic theory; psychoanalysis; theories of ideology, language and discourse - on this growing field, in terms of both theoretical shifts and changes in methodologies. The relationship of feminist film theory to feminist media and cultural studies is outlined, as is the relationship between developments in feminist film theory and feminist film making. Includes readings from Laura Mulvey, Jacqueline Rose, Mary Ann Doane, Tania Modleski, Annette Kuhn, Jackie Stacey, Elizabeth Cowey, Linda Williams, bell hooks, Teresa de Lauretis. For the past twenty-five years, cinema has been a vital terrain on which feminist debates about culture, representation and identity have been fought. This anthology seeks to chart the history of those debates, bringing together the key statements in feminist film theory in Britain and the United States since 1970. The book maps the impact of major theoretical developments in this growing field - from structuralism and psychoanalysis to post-colonial theory, queer theory and postmodernism in the 1990s - interms of both theoretical shifts and changes in methodologies. Organised into six sections, the readings deal with a wide range of topics: oppressive images; "woman" as fetishised object of desire; female spectatorship; film audiences; issues of fantasy and desire in popular film; and the cinematic pleasures of black women and lesbian women. The centrality of a feminist "politics of vision" unites all the readings in this book.

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About the Author

Sue Thornham is Professor of Media and Film at the University of Sussex.

Reviews

Like feminist theory in general, feminist film theory has undergone considerable change and revision since its heady days of the early 1970s. This collection of 23 representative essays and extracts illustrates this history extremely well, providing a useful framework for understanding the variety to be found in feminist film analysis ...The range of material, and helpful introductions, make this an ideal teaching text.

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