Researching Women in Silent Cinema: New Findings and Perspectives

A cura di: Dall'Asta, Monica ; Duckett, Victoria ; Tralli, Lucia (2013) Researching Women in Silent Cinema: New Findings and Perspectives. Bologna: Dipartimento delle Arti - DAR, Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, p. 437. ISBN 9788898010103. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsacta/3827. In: Women and Screen Cultures (1). A cura di: Dall'Asta, Monica ; Duckett, Victoria. ISSN 2283-6462.
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This anthology exposes the richness and variety of interests that motivate feminist film research today. Exploring women’s contribution to silent cinema, scholars from across the globe address questions of performance, nationality, industry, technology, labor, and theory of feminist historiography. The volume builds on the thematic, methodological, and material diversity that characterized earlier efforts in women’s film history, and the originating context of the sixth Women and the Silent Screen conference (Bologna, 2010). Much emphasis is given to the transitional period of silent cinema (1910s to the early 1920s), which emerges as the field where feminist film scholars are beginning to claim their own theoretical and historical ‘place’. While giving a new impetus to the idea of transitional cinema, the collected essays also illuminate the importance of film’s transnational circulation. Questions of nation and nationhood, and women’s inclusion or exclusion within these terms, are examined in connection to issues of cultural globalization. How did American serial queens impact early Chinese film? How did the variety stage accommodate American films in Rio de Janeiro? Along what lines might we discuss women filmmakers who literally toured the world? These are just some of the issues that are discussed in the volume. Each investigation prompts us into distinct acts of cultural contextualization. A particular focus on acting and the agency of the actress is shared across the volume. The fundamental figure of the actress links multiple threads of scholarship, traversing different films and national cinemas. Alice Guy, Asta Nielsen, Florence Turner, Lois Weber, Mary Pickford, Esfir’ Shub, Pearl White, Vera Karalli, Aleksandra Khokhlova, Elsa Lanchester, Louise Fazenda, Sarah Bernhardt, Gemma Bellincioni, Angelina Buracci, Yin Mingzhu, Leni Riefensthal: these are but some of the names that are encountered across the essays in the collection. New findings are exposed and new research perspectives are opened through these and other figures, allowing us to uncover original ways of thinking about women’s visibility and agency on film.

Document type
Monograph (Proceedings)
Deposit date
28 Sep 2013 14:37
Last modified
13 Mar 2015 14:45

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