Reading List

List Creator

Amy Murphy

University of Southern California

Women, Space, and Place: Four Cinematic Pairings

This reading list has grown out of the seminar I teach at USC entitled, “City Cine: Visuality, Media and Urban Experience.” While the seminar itself looks at the broader relationship between cinema and urban experience, this particular reading list is more limited in scope. It pairs eight films with four sets of readings — each examining a different type of ‘space’ women might occupy in the cinema as well as contemporary life.

The first grouping concerns itself with female experience beyond the confines of domesticity, while the second grouping examines the relationship between women and consumer culture. The third and fourth groupings look at representations of the future — assessing the two common cinematic tropes of the female protagonist either ‘saving’ the world from apocalyptic destruction or achieving some type of bodily transcendence through cyborgian liberation.

The readings included here are by no means meant to be exhaustive. Instead they were selected to illustrate the constellation of potential issues that could be further explored in relation to each theme.


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