Call for Papers: Special Issue of Camera Obscura
“Women’s Film Authorship in Neoliberal Times:
Revisiting German Cinema and Gender”
Contributions are sought for a special issue of Camera Obscura that posits German cinema as a key site for the theorization of women’s film authorship and feminist film production today. German cinema presents an especially generative case study for considering women’s filmmaking in neoliberal times because of its centrality to the development of feminist film theory at an earlier historical moment in the 1970s. The West German feminist film movement spearheaded by Helke Sander and Claudia von Alemann led to an unparalleled degree of institutional and financial support for an aesthetically and politically diverse feminist filmmaking praxis and led Germany to become an important matrix for transnational theoretical work by feminist film scholars including E. Ann Kaplan, Teresa de Lauretis, B. Ruby Rich, and Kaja Silverman, among many others.
Due to political and economic change in Germany, Europe and worldwide, including media conglomeration and the dismantling of redistributive policies for the global free market, many of the gains of the feminist film movement were reversed in the course of the last few decades. This has created the context for a disavowal or simply a lack of awareness among a younger generation of women filmmakers in Germany of their feminist precursors. However, the rise of the Berlin School, the development of production collectives fostering women’s film production, and the recent call by director Maren Ade (Toni Erdmann, 2016) for policies promoting gender parity through quotas certainly makes the time rife for a reconsideration of the relations between aesthetic form and the material conditions of women’s filmmaking in Germany.
We invite contributions that address the place of German-speaking women directors in the twenty-first century. To what extent do they share a common focus on diverse experiences of gender, sexuality, intimacy, and the precarity of life today? Is their work still classifiable within inherited schema of women’s cinema as “oppositional,” “counterhegemonic,” “subversive,” or “resistant,” and to what extent do their films enact intersectional alliances with feminist, queer, antiheteronormative, and antiracist projects? How might a formal allegiance to an aesthetic of reduction and, crucially, a commitment to women’s access to the means of production underscore the politics of their films? We encourage submissions that consider how women directors’ involvement in all aspects of the filmmaking process—financing, screenwriting, direction, cinematography, editing, and distribution—represent a significant intervention into the dire situation for women in media industries today.
Inquiries about potentially suitable topics are welcomed at any time. Please send a 300-word abstract and brief bio by May 15, 2017, to Hester Baer ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>) and Angelica Fenner ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>). Manuscripts will be due by September 1, 2017. We anticipate submitting a finalized dossier of revised essays by January 2018 for peer-review and ensuing publication in Fall 2018.
Graduate Coordinator, Cinema Studies Institute
Associate Chair of Graduate Studies, Germanic Languages & Literatures
University of Toronto
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