Queer or LGBTQ+

On the question of inclusivity in queer cinema studies

Authored by: Amy Borden

The Routledge Companion to Cinema and Gender

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138924956
eBook ISBN: 9781315684062
Adobe ISBN: 9781317408055


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Writing about queer cinema in 2010, film scholar Bob Nowlan asked if it was retrograde to consider queer cinema as a radical, politically inflected cinematic mode in light of what he saw as film studies’ conflation of queer and LGBT identities. Had queer become, he asked, less about disrupting and more about creating a blanket of inclusivity under which non-heteronormative practices found safety (2010: 10)? Five years later, queer cinema scholarship continues to practice an inclusivity that can make it productively maddening to characterize even when viewed as a unique subdiscipline that draws from, but does not mirror, queer studies or film studies. Jackie Stacey and Sarah Street locate queer cinema’s ability to avoid the compartmentalization and “drive towards quotable synthesis” found in academia to the fact that it has always “belonged as much to film and video makers, festival programmers and political activists as to academics” (2007: 1). If it has coalesced around anything fundamental, queer cinema scholarship values Alexander Doty’s invocation of a “definitional elusiveness” (2000: 6) found in queer theory’s fundamental “indeterminacy” (Jagose 1997:1).

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