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Searching for Black Queer Domesticity at Chez Baldwin
Magdalena J. Zaborowska

This essay argues for the importance of James Baldwin’s last house, located in St. Paul-de-Vence in the south of France, to his late works written during the productive period of 1971–87: No Name in the Street (1972), If Beale Street Could Talk (1974), The Devil Finds Work (1976), Just Above My Head (1979), The Evidence of Things Not Seen (1985), and the unpublished play The Welcome Table (1987). That period ushered in a new Baldwin, more complex and mature as an author, who became disillusioned while growing older as a black queer American who had no choice but to live abroad to get his work done and to feel safe. Having established his most enduring household at “Chez Baldwin,” as the property was known locally, the writer engaged in literary genre experimentation and challenged normative binaries of race, gender, and sexuality with his conceptions of spatially contingent national identity. The late Baldwin created unprecedented models of black queer domesticity and humanism that, having been excluded from U.S. cultural narratives until recently, offer novel ways to reconceptualize what it means to be an American intellectual in the twenty-first-century world.

James Baldwin Review
Abstract only
Matthew Gartner, Martin Fradley, Alexis Brown, Patricia Prieto-Blanco and Antonio Lázaro-Reboll
Film Studies
Jennifer Lyon Bell

Filmmaker Jennifer Lyon Bell (Blue Artichoke Films) has made empathy the centre of her practice as an alternative porn filmmaker. This blend of artist manifesto and academic essay illuminates the three ways in which empathy is a driving force at every level of her artistic efforts. 1) Structure: Using a foundation of cognitive film theory and specifically the work of Murray Smith, she builds empathy into the structure and content of her films themselves. 2) Production: She prioritises empathy in her production process on the set with cast and crew 3) Society: By creating and spreading empathetic pornography, she aims to introduce more empathy into society at large.

Film Studies
Swedish Sex Education in 1970s London
Adrian Smith

In 1974 the British Board of Film Censors refused to grant a certificate to the Swedish documentary More About the Language of Love (Mera ur Kärlekens språk, 1970, Torgny Wickman, Sweden: Swedish Film Production), due to its explicit sexual content. Nevertheless, the Greater London Council granted the film an ‘X’ certificate so that it could be shown legally in cinemas throughout the capital. This article details the trial against the cinema manager and owners, after the film was seized by police under the charge of obscenity, and explores the impact on British arguments around film censorship, revealing a range of attitudes towards sex and pornography. Drawing on archival records of the trial, the widespread press coverage as well as participants’ subsequent reflections, the article builds upon Elisabet Björklund’s work on Swedish sex education films and Eric Schaefer’s scholarship on Sweden’s ‘sexy nation’ reputation to argue that the Swedish films’ transnational distribution complicated tensions between educational and exploitative intentions in a particularly British culture war over censorship.

Film Studies
The Boom of 1960s–70s Erotic Cinema and the Policing of Young Female Subjects in Japanese sukeban Films
Laura Treglia

The purpose of this article is to analyse the ambivalent politics of looking and discourses of gender, class and sexuality in a variety of 1960s–70s Japanese studio-made exploitation films, known as sukeban films. It first contextualises their production within a transnational and domestic shift emphasising sex and violence in film and popular culture. The article then highlights instances where the visual, narrative and discursive articulation of non-conforming femininities flips the gendered power balance, as in the sketches that satirise men’s sexual fetishes for girls. In conclusion, it suggests to understand the filmic construction of young women’s agency, and their bodily and sexual performance, in terms of a recurring modus operandi of Japanese media that ambivalently panders to and co-constitutes youth phenomena.

Film Studies
Pornography: The Musical (2003)
Catalin Brylla

Brian Hill’s musical documentaries embody the essence of Judith Butler’s notion of ‘performativity’ as the discourse used in identity formation. By asking his characters to sing their stories in addition to traditional interviews, Hill creates multiple screen identities, which elicits an embodied intimacy that is as much about freeing marginalised people to enact themselves in front of the camera as it is about revealing the director’s own performance. This article uses a cognitive framework to explore how Hill’s documentary, Pornography: The Musical (2003), leads the spectator to challenge existing social stereotypes of sex workers, as well as schematic ideas about traditional documentary form and function.

Film Studies
Mattias Frey and Sara Janssen

This introduction to the Film Studies special issue on Sex and the Cinema considers the special place of sex as an object of inquiry in film studies. Providing an overview of three major topic approaches and methodologies – (1) representation, spectatorship and identity politics; (2) the increasing scrutiny of pornography; and (3) new cinema history/media industries studies – this piece argues that the parameters of and changes to the research of sex, broadly defined, in film studies reflect the development of the field and discipline since the 1970s, including the increased focus on putatively ‘low’ cultural forms, on areas of film culture beyond representation and on methods beyond textual/formal analysis.

Film Studies
Daniel Biltereyst

Arguing that limit transgression is a key feature for understanding the cinematic performance of, and the controversy around, sexuality in the public sphere, this contribution focuses on various aspects of limit transgression in relation to sex cinemas. Following a new cinema history approach and concentrating on the case of an emerging sex cinema in postwar Belgium (Cinema Leopold in Ghent, 1945–54), this article looks at various dimensions of limit transgression in terms of concrete physical and spatial relations; programming strategies; audience experiences; and a range of disciplining societal practices and institutional discourses.

Film Studies
Elyse Semerdjian

This article discusses how Armenians have collected, displayed and exchanged the bones of their murdered ancestors in formal and informal ceremonies of remembrance in Dayr al-Zur, Syria – the final destination for hundreds of thousands of Armenians during the deportations of 1915. These pilgrimages – replete with overlapping secular and nationalist motifs – are a modern variant of historical pilgrimage practices; yet these bones are more than relics. Bone rituals, displays and vernacular memorials are enacted in spaces of memory that lie outside of official state memorials, making unmarked sites of atrocity more legible. Vernacular memorial practices are of particular interest as we consider new archives for the history of the Armenian Genocide. The rehabilitation of this historical site into public consciousness is particularly urgent, since the Armenian Genocide Memorial Museum and Martyr’s Church at the centre of the pilgrimage site were both destroyed by ISIS (Islamic State in Syria) in 2014.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Jonah S. Rubin, Iñaki Robles Elong, Riva Kastoryano, Marije Hristova, Iosif Kovras and Ivana Belén Ruiz-Estramil
Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal