Films for the Feminist Classroom (FFC) is hosted by the Department of Women's Studies at Texas Woman’s University, formerly hosted by the Rutgers-based editorial offices of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society and the Rutgers Women’s and Gender Studies Department. FFC, an online, open-access journal, publishes film reviews that provide a critical assessment of the value of films as pedagogical tools in the feminist classroom. Special features, such as interviews with filmmakers, reviews of film festivals, and discussions about pedagogy are included to further promote engagement and discussion. FFC endeavors to serve as a dynamic resource for educators and librarians and to enhance feminist curricula, bringing film into the classroom through thought-provoking, relevant, and dynamic content. Formerly, the Rutgers-based editorial offices of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society and the Rutgers Women's and Gender Studies Department hosted this journal.
Films for the Feminist Classroom issue 6.1 is here!
This issue of FFC includes an exciting special feature that addresses a topic many educators confront in their teaching: violence. Departing from our usual focus on documentaries, this “Film and Violence” feature highlights primarily fictional films produced through the mainstream film industry. Special feature editors Dr. Shilyh Warren and Merry Jett, both affiliated with the University of Texas at Dallas, have curated a collection of essays that does the important work of theorizing violence in film while also analyzing specific films that instructors may use in a classroom.
Why film and violence? Why feature films? Why now? As Jett notes, “If instructors refuse to allow this type of media into the classroom, they will miss out on an opportunity to talk about feminism to students who are going to watch these kinds of films anyway.” And Warren reminds us, “If we wish to engage students in an ethical and political consideration of gendered violence in the world, we must take on the media that imbues it most heavily with pleasure and desire.” As the essays in this feature demonstrate, violent films evoke this tension—between pleasure and disgust, between feminism and violence against women, and between our “minds” and our “feelings.” Thus, in this issue we are pleased to offer an extended conversation about film, violence, feminism, pedagogy, theory, and practice.
Contributions to the special feature incorporate cinema from the 1950s to the present, including blockbuster action-adventure movies such as Alien and Braveheart; those that have entered cinematic canons such as Foxy Brown, The Brood, and Carrie (both the 1976 and 2013 versions); nonmainstream films including Teeth and À Ma Soeur! (Fat Girl); and even the 1959 experimental documentation of his wife’s birth, Window Water Baby Moving, by Stan Brakhage.
In addition to a focus on film and violence, this issue highlights film reviews about a range of topics. While one review builds on the ideas discussed in the special feature—exploring the social, historical, and political contexts of honor killings—most of the reviews address different facets of cultural production and the politics of representation. Films about art and artists, popular media, sports, native communities, and Judaism offer insight into the different ways individuals and industries navigate and produce their visions of gender, race, religion, sexuality, nationality, and indigeneity. Some of the films reviewed are Quest for Honor, Ladies of the Gridiron, Not Just a Game: Power, Politics & American Sports, Unveiled Views: Muslim Women Artists Speak Out, Girl Power: All Dolled Up, Esther Broner: A Weave of Women, and Tinku Kamayu.
Films for the Feminist Classroom welcomes review proposals, suggestions of regional and international film festivals to cover in future issues, and lesson plans that include film or video media. Please see our call for proposals and contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.