The CMCL Colloquium Series is proud to present student as well as professor work. This week we will have Mark Hain, a CMCL PhD Student, presenting some of the work he is doing for his dissertation. The presentation is this Friday April 17, from 4-5pm in Classroom Office Building Room 100.
Abstract for Mark's presentation:
I will be presenting work that I'm doing on my dissertation, which looks at various kinds of loss within cinema history, such as the physical loss of films through decay and the loss of films and stars from cultural memory. Arguing that film fans have developed strategies for compensating for these losses that are often more effective than the efforts of "official" archives and preservationists, and that the development of these strategies can be a productive means of thwarting encoded ideologies by "poaching" the media, I will be looking at how audiences have interpreted and used the image of Theda Bara, the infamous silent film "vamp" of the 1910s. By conducting a diachronic study of responses to Bara, I make a case that star images can be "repurposed" for varied and sometimes contradictory uses, and moreover, that the loss of Bara's films has actually increased the potential for this repurposing. For this talk, I will be looking specifically at audience reception of Bara both in the 1910s and today, focusing on whether the misogynistic image of the sexually predatory vamp can be appropriated and repurposed as a symbol of feminist empowerment. Along with this particular repurposing, I will also be investigating the related issue of how Bara became an icon within the Goth subculture decades after mainstream audiences had forgotten her.