Date of Degree

10-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

French

Advisor

Francesca C. Sautman

Subject Categories

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Film and Media Studies | Women's Studies

Keywords

Agnes Varda, Eleonore Faucher, Female corporeality, French and Francophone Women Directors, The Nomad, Yamina Benguigui

Abstract

This project is about female corporeal agency, but it is also about identity, sexuality, desire and gender. It is about balancing feminist theory alongside the filmic text in a way that is not reductive to either medium. What I have learned as I embarked upon this study was that studying corporeality through the filmic medium would and should mean so much more than simply outlining how the female body enters the filmic text. If I were to study the latter it would simply imply indicating that the female body does indeed play a central role. What I have wanted to study and outline is how the female body becomes an agent of change in the filmic medium I have selected. As a result, each of my chapters is thematically oriented so that films are not grouped with respect to their countries of origin but often oriented towards the creative expression of the body such as embroidery, singing and or dance.

In engaging the question of the female body it became tantamount to survey feminist theories from around the world so that the theories from the so-called First World and Third World would be part of the dialogue. Therefore, Chapter 1 offers readings and interpretations of those feminist theories from both the Western world and the "Third World" that have informed my understanding of critical points of inquiry in my study and my own development as a feminist. These comprise of sex, gender, desire, sexuality, culture, tradition and custom. The theoreticians whose works I analyze and with whom I enter into dialogue include but are not limited to: Luce Irigaray, Monique Wittig, Judith Butler, Uma Narayan and Chandra Talpade Mohanty. Additionally, in Chapter 2, in my development of The Nomad, conceived from Rosi Braidotti and her theoretical musings, I also involve the theories, amongst others, of Judith Butler and Gloria Anzaldua. The Nomadic Impulse and the Nomadic project are thus praxis-minded initiatives derived from the figuration of the Nomad. The impulse and project are thus generated within the viewer, in the need to effect change, and in the realms of future possibility.

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