Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Francesca Canadé Sautman

Committee Members

Mary Ann Caws

Jerry Carlson

Subject Categories

French and Francophone Literature | Other Film and Media Studies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion | Visual Studies | Women's Studies


Indo-Maghrebi female authored cinema, Indo-Islamicate women in center frame, theorizing female identity through cinema, 'Third-worlded' women made visible, speaking cinematic subalterns


“Third-World” women have long been excluded from center screen space, and positioned as stereotypical characters in liminal, coded spaces—such as harems, brothels, convents, ashrams, zawiyas or in domestic space. Yet, spatial organization is integral to the production of the social, not merely its result, and is fully implicated in both history and politics. Space is thus a crucial category of analysis in any cinema. My thesis examines how spaces, from the domestic to the virtual, socio-religio-cultural are reclaimed, redefined, and reformulated by women in politically engaged films made by Third-World women directors focused on women. Their struggles for space are at the core of theorizing identity, belonging, home, displacement, and marginalization, while their subordination is directly linked to limitations on their mobility. My thesis examines how eight films by women from France, India and the Maghreb, contest and implode the symbolic meanings of spaces and their role in the gender order.