Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Sustaining feminist film cultures: An institutional history of Women Make Movies
by Fallica, Kristen M., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2013, 302; 3577178
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation presents an institutional history of the feminist film and media organization Women Make Movies (WMM) from its founding as a collective in the 1970s through the present and is the first comprehensive examination of the history of the organization itself. Drawing on the archival history of WMM—materials ranging from old newsletters, scrap paper, and correspondence to tax returns and board meeting minutes—this dissertation illuminates the past and present of this influential institution in broader social contexts, narratives of cultural history, and sets of political tensions. Critically situating WMM’s history reveals how the organization’s transformations over time are imbricated in a number of larger historical tendencies. More specifically, these tendencies include evolving concerns about the role of visual media in education and feminist and social movements; fluctuating political and economic climates and their impact on independent media and non-profit arts organizations; changing media technologies and their effects on production and distribution; shifting interests, successes, and difficulties of social movements; and transforming conditions around the contemporary production of images, their circulation, and effects in a globalized media space. Moreover, this project argues that WMM was important for the growth of Film and Women’s Studies as academic disciplines and remains a significant force in shaping how we think about the past, present, and future of feminist moving image culture. Thus, this project enables productive lenses for a number of intellectual projects, including interdisciplinary discourses around women, gender, sexuality, and identity; economies and histories of the arts; studies of transnational media production and reception; and the relation between cultural history and institutions that create, distribute, or preserve media. This project historicizes and culturally situates WMM to better understand its place in histories of independent film and feminism, its extensive influence in education and media culture, and its role in shaping trajectories of global feminist media practices.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fisher, Lucy
School: University of Pittsburgh
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 75/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Film studies
Keywords: Arts organizations, Feminism, Independent films, Nonprofit organizations, Women Make Movies, Women's filmmaking
Publication Number: 3577178
ISBN: 978-1-303-59305-5
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