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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


FSS Queer

FSS Queer: Spaces of Queer Cinema

Course Convenor: Dr Jules O’Dwyer (, Centre for Film and Screen and Section of French

From early accounts of cinema that privileged the medium’s affinities with architecture to contemporary work on the geopolitics of film’s circulation and exhibition, the question of space has been a central concern in film theory. Cinematic space, however, is a slippery concept with no commonly agreed upon definition. More than a straightforward synonym for a film’s setting or geographic referent, scholars are increasingly using the term cinematic space to describe the complex relations between the profilmic image and off-screen space, between cinematic landscape and soundscape, between narrative space and the sites of cinema’s reception (—including both the architecture of the film theatre and the bodies that populate it). The aim of this course is to think through the multiple facets cinematic space as a way of offering a more expansive account of queer cinema. Looking beyond a representational paradigm focused on the onscreen politics of sexual identity, we will turn our attention to broader themes of embodiment, space and materiality. In this module we will consider a range of questions, including: How have histories of censorship delimited the field of vision? (And how have queer spectators negotiated their relation to these image economies?); How do queer filmmakers articulate questions of privacy, publicity, sexual visibility and disclosure in formal terms?; And how might a spatial approach to queer cinema yield new insights into a range of topics, from subcultural sexual practices to processes of urban gentrification, and from the rural/urban fault line in queer representation to the politics of sexuality in an uneven global frame? In this module, students will be asked to engage with a broad spectrum of cinematic objects—from America and France, to Sweden and Taiwan—and readings will be drawn from a range of fields including film studies, queer theory and spatial thought.

Preliminary Reading

Leo Bersani, Is the Rectum a Grave? And Other Essays

Michael P Brown, Closet Space: Geographies of Metaphor from the Body to the Globe

Giuliana Bruno, Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture and Film

Verena Andermatt Conley, Spatial Ecologies: Urban Sites, State and World-Space in French Cultural Theory

Diane Chisholm, Queer Constellations: Subcultural Space In The Wake Of The City

Samuel R. Delany, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue

Jack Halberstam, In A Queer Time and Place

Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space

Jasbir K. Puar, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times

John David Rhodes and Elena Gorfinkel, Taking Place: Location and the Moving Image

Irvin Schick, The Erotic Margin: Sexuality and Spatiality in Alteritist Discourse

Karl Schoonover and Rosalind Galt, Queer Cinema in the World

Sarah Schulman, The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination

Nicole Seymour, Strange Natures: Futurity, Empathy, and the Queer Ecological Imagination

Vivian Sobchack, The Address of the Eye: A Phenomenology of Film Experience

Eliza Steinbock, Shimmering Images: Trans Cinema, Embodiment, and the Aesthetics of Change

Mark W. Turner, Backward Glances: Cruising the Queer Streets of New York and London

James Williams, Space and Being in Contemporary French Cinema

Linda Williams, Screening Sex

Damon R. Young, Making Sex Public, and Other Cinematic Fantasies



Filmmakers covered include Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Sean Baker, Ester Martin Bergsmark, Claire Denis, Jean Genet, Alain Guiraudie, Sébastien Lifshitz, Tsai Ming-liang, and Zhang Yuan.


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