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(CFP) Female subjectivity and cinematic representation

[…] the paradox of presence… This is not a formal or logical paradox, but a linguistic one, and it has its roots in the etymology of the term: `representation ´ implies that something must be present in order to be `represented ´ but also absent in order to be `re-presented´. Since things cannot be present and absent at the same time, there appears to be at the very least a tension built into the idea of representation, and possibly a fundamental incoherence. (Runciman, ‘The Paradox of Political Representation, The Journal of Political Philosophy, Volume 15, No.1, 2007, p. 93)

Feminist theory is built on the very paradox of the unrepresentability of woman as subject of desire, and historical women who know themselves to be subjects. The notion of the female subject seems to be a contradiction in terms, so much so that Teresa de Lauretis sometimes refers to the female subject as a ‘non-subject’ (1985: 36). ‘Woman’ is fundamentally unrepresentable as subject of desire; she can only be represented as representation (1987: 20). The intent of challenging the dominant modes of representation is premised on the notion that in a patriarchal society women are not allowed to be in the position of the subject in the sense that women do not have any agency. This permits a feminist politics of intervention at the levels of language and of meaning and of action, which may be equally applicable to the language of cinema as it is to the written and spoken word.

In its next issue Cinemascope is seeking to discuss the link between cinematic representation and female subjectivity in its attempt to answer questions that this link brings about including: how does cinema represent female subjectivity? In what ways is this form of representation different from that of other media? What strategies does cinema use to represent female subjectivity? What exactly is this notion of ‘female subjectivity’ that cinema specifically permits to emerge as representation? How do textual operations (including narrative, character, image, photography, framing, camera position and movement, montage, metaphors, point of view) help identify the difference cinema makes vis-à-vis other form of media? (Yet, here, we agree that the cinema is not only a textual (linguistic) construction but also it can be considered as a phenomenological and logical form.) When thinking about female subjectivity what is the relationship between the experience (and / or the cinematography) of the filmmaker represented in the film; the experience of the spectator evoked by the film (in other words what is represented in the film); and, that of larger social and cultural codes (or culturally determined codes of representation).

Possible topics include but are not restricted to:

  • Female (feminist) discourse in fiction and / or non-fiction 
  • Female desire 
  • Female gaze 
  • Female subjectivity silent women in film 
  • Discourses of the female body 
  • Female authorship and subjectivity 
  • The use of violence 
  • Representations of female subjectivity in World Cinema 
  • (We are particularly interested in hearing from the cinemas of the World) 
  • Realism (personal, political, social) and female subjectivity 
  • Female subjectivity in non-fiction forms of cinema 
  • Female subjectivity and spectatorship 

Deadline for proposals: October 15, 2008
Notice of acceptance of proposals by Cinemascope: November 1, 2008
Reception of articles: December 1, 2008
Max length of articles: max 5000 words
Abstract: 150 words
Issue Editor: Eylem Atakav
Editorial Board: Frank Coffey, Mariangela Fornaro, Massimiliano Gaudiosi
Language: English
Information and contacts: info@cinemascope.it

1 comment

1 Fiona. H { 05.11.11 at 9:28 am }

I wonder if you like,can you give me the definition of female subjectivity which is authoritative .thank u

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