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Black Girl Refusals and Reimaginings: Theorizing Liberatory Black Girlhoods Across the Diaspora

The Black Girlhood Studies Collection

Desirée de Jesus

Aria S. Halliday (ed.). 2019. The Black Girlhood Studies Collection. Toronto: Women's Press.

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Black Girls Swim

Race, Gender, and Embodied Aquatic Histories

Samantha White

Abstract

During the early part of the twentieth century, Black girls in the United States attended Young Women's Christian Associations (YWCAs) where they received instruction in sports and physical activity. Using archival research, in this article I examine the role of swimming in Black girls’ sports and physical activity practices in Northern YWCAs. With a focus on the construction of Black girlhood, health, and embodiment, I trace how girls navigated spatial segregation, beauty ideals, and athleticism. I highlight the experiences of Black girl swimmers—subjects who have often been rendered invisible in the historical and contemporary sporting landscape.

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A Body of Texts

Memento and Mētis

Jeremy Tirrell

Abstract

This article applies materialist rhetoric to Christopher Nolan's 2000 neo-noir film Memento and positions its protagonist Leonard Shelby, a man with a brain injury that prevents him from making new memories, as a figure of mētis: a classical concept addressing the cunning ability to respond to the contingent, kairotic moment by engaging situations through a reciprocal process of change. As evidence for its assertion, the article examines Leonard's relationship to his shifting bodily archive of tattoos, handwritten notes, and annotated Polaroid pictures. It also aligns him with the ancient hero Odysseus and the sophistic rhetorician Gorgias, two classical exemplars of mētis. Leonard's mētic existence informs how contemporary selves emerge from networks of objects both physical and virtual.

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Book Reviews

Jeffrey M. Zacks, Trevor Ponech, Jane Stadler, and Malcolm Turvey

Gallese, Vittorio, and Michele Guerra. The Empathic Screen: Cinema and Neuroscience. Trans. Frances Anderson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019, 272 pp., $45.00, ISBN: 9780198793533.

Rawls, Christina, Diana Neiva, and Steven S. Gouveia, eds. Philosophy and Film: Bridging Divides. New York: Routledge, 2019, 389 pp., $160 (hardback), ISBN: 978-1-138-35169-1.

Moss-Wellington, Wyatt. Narrative Humanism: Kindness and Complexity in Fiction and Film. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019, 256 pp., $29.95 (paperback), ISBN: 9781474454322.

Perez, Gilberto. The Eloquent Screen. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2019, 448 pp., $29.95, ISBN: 978-0-8166-4133-8.

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Call-and-Response

Looking Outward from/with IGSA@ND

Angeletta KM Gourdine, Mary Celeste Kearney, and Shauna Pomerantz

We are proud to introduce this special issue that was inspired by the 2019 International Girlhood Studies Association (IGSA) conference at the University of Notre Dame (IGSA@ND). At that time, we were not yet acquainted with each other beyond exchanging pleasantries and knowing of each other's academic profiles. Yet we came together as three co-editors and scholars committed not only to the diversification of girlhood studies but also to the larger project of social justice for all. We want to promote such work through this special issue and, in the process, expand perspectives and practices within the field of girlhood studies, as many before us have done.

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Changelings in Chicago

Southside Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration

Courtney Cook

Marcia Chatelain. 2015. Southside Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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crushed little stars

A Praxis-in-Process of Black Girlhood

Jordan Ealey

Abstract

This is a performative engagement with the theory and practice of Black girlhood. I begin with an excerpt from my play-in-process, crushed little stars, which is itself a meditation on the sad Black girl. I share this process of play not only to present play making as a powerful epistemological tool, but also to blur the boundaries between what constitutes theory as opposed to practice. I (re)imagine Black girl sociality as a site of restoration and healing against the racist, sexist, and ageist world with which Black girls are forced to contend. Accordingly, this project contributes to the diversification of girlhood studies, challenging the disciplinarity of the field by extending ethnographic and sociological perspectives to include the vantage point of performance and creative practice.

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Disney's Specific and Ambiguous Princess

A Discursive Analysis of Elena of Avalor

Diana Leon-Boys

Abstract

Bringing together discourses of Latina girlhood and ambiguity, in this article I interrogate Disney Junior's specific and ambiguous Latinidad in three key episodes from the first season of Elena of Avalor. This type of intersectional analysis is seldom found in Disney scholarship, despite the relative abundance of existing work on Disney-generated cultural production. By analyzing the ambiguity (Joseph 2018) and unambivalent structure of ambivalence (Valdivia 2020) present in Disney's deployment of animated Latina can-do girlhood (Harris 2004), in this article, I provide an intersectional approach to the study of Disney Junior animated content and Latina girlhood in contemporary popular culture. I argue that Elena of Avalor is the result of Disney's avowed and disavowed dedication to the construction of Latinidad and can-do girlhood. The result of this is a fluctuation and flexible navigation between specificity and ambiguity within one narrative franchise.

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Editor's Introduction

The Affective Modalities of Media and Technology

Andrew J. Ball

The six essays in this in this issue of Screen Bodies explore what we might call the affective modalities of media, that is, each author examines the potential of emerging and traditional media to transform individual and collective relations through the strategic use of embodied affective experience. Three essays in the issue focus on new and emerging technology. In, “The iAnimal Film Series: Activating Empathy Through Virtual Reality,” Holly Cecil examines the potential power of virtual reality to generate empathy in users. In particular, she looks at the way animal advocacy organizations combine documentary film and virtual reality to communicate the embodied experience of living and dying in a factory farm to provoke feeling and widespread opposition to the industry.

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Ensuring Failure?

The Impact of Class on Girls in Swedish Secure Care

Maria A. Vogel

Abstract

Historically, the regulation of girls through institutionalization has been guided by bourgeois norms of femininity, including virtue, domesticity, and motherhood. Using a Foucauldian perspective on the production of subjects in Swedish secure care, I investigate whether or not middle-class norms of femininity, centered today around self-regulation, still guide the regulation of working-class girls. By analyzing data from an ethnographic study, I show that even though secure care is repressive, it is also permeated with the aim of producing self-regulating subjects corresponding with discourses on ideal girlhood. However, since working-class girls are rarely made intelligible within such discourses, thereby making the position of self-regulatory subject inaccessible, the care system leaves them to shoulder the responsibility for resolving a situation that is shaped by structures beyond their control.