31 May 2012

Call for Contributions for an Edited Collection - Playing with Dolls: Women and the Work of Todd Haynes

Post date: 31 May 2012
Deadline: 31 July 2012

We seek contributors to an edited collection which explores the specific role of women in, on, and behind the film and video work of Todd Haynes. Female characters and women’s genres from classical Hollywood, as well as feminist film scholars, women directors, film industry professionals, actors, and female fans have all influenced and shaped his creative work. Our collection hopes to produce new scholarship on the subject of feminism, women and Todd Haynes.

Existing scholarship on this important independent filmmaker tends to focus on queer readings and contexts, in accordance with his prominent role in the New Queer Cinema of the 1990s. Yet, Haynes himself has explicitly acknowledged the influences of women on his work as well as the feminist themes running through his films, and his sustained body of work over the last two decades reflects an ongoing engagement with women’s issues and the cinematic representation of gender generally, exemplified in his recent return to the classic woman’s film. We believe that the feminist concerns evident throughout Haynes’ career, from his early work, beginning with Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1987), to his most recent reinvention of the maternal melodrama, Mildred Pierce (2011, seventeen Emmy nominations, five wins), merit further research and scholarly investigation.

In all his films, Haynes pushes us to question and disrupt fixed notions about aesthetics, affect, sexuality, and, we argue, their constitutive relationship to gender. His female characters are often placed in the center of coalitions and conflicts among queer men, people of color, and the wider society in which they are located, yet they always retain their own gendered struggles with identity and embodiment. His women are political actors in their own right with crucial alliances with other marginalized subjects. Although chapters on each film are expected, the second half of the book will include chapters on the influential women in Haynes’ life, education, and work. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
  • feminist analyses of specific Haynes works, particularly Poison, Dottie Gets Spanked, Far From Heaven, I’m Not There and Mildred Pierce
  • textual analyses of the figure of woman in the works of Todd Haynes
  • specific feminist issues in the films, such as anorexia, fame and gender, motherhood, domesticity and other gendered spaces, fashion, gender performance

We also seek chapters on women who have played important roles in Haynes's career:
  • gender and genre: Haynes’ reinventing the woman’s film; domestic melodrama; women & the musical / literary adaptation / made-for-television movie / biopic
  • women film critics and scholars: Doane, Taubin, Rich
  • female characters in influential films by other directors: Ophuls, Sirk, Fassbinder, Arzner, Deren
  • intertextual citations of feminist filmmaking: Friedrich, Akerman, Mulvey, Rainer, Gorris, Duras
  • production / collaboration with women in the film industry: Schneider, Vachon, Reichardt
  • actors / muses: Moore, Winslet
  • women in popular culture: television, media, music
  • fans: slash fiction, online fansites

Please submit 350-500 word abstracts with a short bio to the editors by July 31


For queries/ submissions: gellertl@grinnell.edu
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