No. 60, spring 2021
Pandemic, platforms, and pedagogy
Zoom in the past conditional
by Gary Kafer
While Zoom claims to make us increasingly present to each other, such a promise fails to register how video teleconferencing is unevenly experienced across lines of sociopolitical difference in times of crisis. Rather than the temporality of the present, this essay tracks another tense—the past conditional— that better exposes the systems of power that make networked connection possible.
Professoring and parenting in a pandemic
by Giovanna Chesler
Interviews with university educators who are parents to young children and the urgent challenges they faced to teach both students and their children at home amidst a global pandemic.
Teaching in times of protest and pandemic
by Brenda Longfellow, Liz Miller, Dorit Naaman
Three Canadian activist/documentarists/ production teachers reflect on the trials and tribulations of teaching online in times of protest and pandemic.
Teaching online on borrowed time: Hong Kong protests, pandemics, and MOOCs
by Gina Marchetti
As a British colony before 1997 and as a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (SAR) until 2047, Hong Kong exists as a “borrowed place” on “borrowed time.” Burdened by a colonial legacy of plagues and protests, Hong Kong’s women face the 2020 COVID-19 crisis on their own time as seen in the territory’s rich screen culture and approach to online pedagogy.
Mapping the promises and perils of distance education during the COVID-19 pandemic: Peru’s case
by Gabriela Martinez and Keya Saxena
As COVID-19 has changed education, a case study of Peru reveals a new precedence of learning spaces over places in digital environments. The study presents theoretical contributions about the (de)construction of environments, the space divide, and mediated flux.
Witnessing and activism
Time in the age of the Coronavirus and #BlackLivesMatter: a dossier
by Cara Caddoo, Travis Wright, Jaicey Bledsoe.
Connective and collective practices:
(small) media activism in the twenty-first century: a dossier
by Chris Robé
A dossier peppered with a few autobiographical moments to assist in comprehending some of the major transformations of the past twenty years of digital media activism. It’s written in a highly digestible format ideally suited for educators, community organizers, and others who would like to discuss such ideas with those less familiar with them.
Media during the COVID-19 pandemic: big and high, small and low
by Patricia R. Zimmermann and Dale Hudson
We need to understand COVID-19 media according to modalities of “big and high” (drone videos, cable news, Hollywood) and “small and low” (community media, file-sharing, and citizen documentation) to understand the pandemic’s uneven and accumulated effects, alongside moments of potential for greater equity and justice, around the world.
Documentary activism across multiple media platforms
by Inez Hedges
Review of Angela Aguayo, Documentary Resistance: Social Change and Participatory Media. Patricia R. Zimmermann, Documentary across Platforms: Reverse Engineering Media, Place, and Politics.
Special Section: Queer TV
Gooey connections: a little detour en route
by Joëlle Rouleau, editor of special section
Can television be queer? What would that look like? Can television hold space for complexity? Does TV drive social change, especially in terms of gender? This special section seeks to question the representations, receptions, perverse readings (Staiger, 2000) and fan creations around the so-called LGBTQ+ spectrum in audiovisual media.
Bat signals and caped crusading: the ins and outs of the CW's Batwoman
by Lynne Joyrich
Through a reading of Batwoman's first season, this piece suggests that, even in an age that's been labeled post-closet (not to mention post-television), mediatized meanings of sexuality do not simply depend on receiving (bat) signals—as if they offer clear-cut messages—and of (caped) crusading for identities—as if those too are clear, pre-formed, and able just to be unmasked. Rather, the complicated, seemingly contradictory, and sometimes confounding logics of television continue to impact us, constructing complex relations of knowledges and ignorances, recognitions and misrecognitions, identifications and disidentifications.
Introducing Taylor Mason: Billions and the first non-binary character in a mainstream U.S. television series
by Kinga Erzepki
With their insider’s skills but outsider’s perspective, Taylor immediately emerges a contrarian and a new type of hero in the high finance world, while the series continues its calculated subversions of the conventional representation of Wall Street.
A fine balance along the Mechitza: navigating privilege, pinkwashing, and Palestinian politics in Transparent’s fourth season
by Jordan Z. Adler
When the Pfeffermans sojourned to Israel in the fourth season of Amazon’s Transparent, it was the rare example of an U.S. series contending with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the results were mixed, as refreshing portraits of queer life in the Middle East bumped up against the characters’ reluctance to acknowledge geopolitical realities.
Living out loud: Queen Latifah and Black queer television production
by Lauren Herold
Analyzing Queen Latifah's labor as producer and star in Bessie (HBO, 2015) and The Wiz Live! (NBC, 2015) reveals how Latifah infuses her commercial television projects with references to Black queer history, community, and culture. The methodological approach allows queer media studies to avoid assumptions or declarations of "outness" by more private celebrities
All About that Ace: representing asexuality and queer identity in BoJack Horseman
by Sarah E. S. Sinwell
The character of Todd Chavez (voiced by Aaron Paul) from BoJack Horseman (Netflix, 2014-2020) has been recognized as the first television character to come out as asexual. Studying how the show represents asexuality and LGBTQIA+ identities through his character and others, this essay examines how asexuality can be understood in relation to the construction of animated animals and the idea of the human/non-human.
Queerbaiting: an explanation of how a straight female
almost bought a fabulous bed
by Christina Hodel
Joseph Brennan's Queerbaiting and Fandom: Teasing Fans Through Homoerotic Possibilities explains how media makers attract LGBTQ audiences by hinting at same-sex relationships between characters, though they’re never actually consummated, thus exploiting a marginalized group.
The futures of queer television
by Jack Halberstam with Joëlle Rouleau
An interview with Jack Halberstam
Exploring the paradox of "queer television," this interview asks, "What's happening with television?" Observing the rise in LGBTQ+ representations, Halberstam considers the impacts of such a transformation, especially as they are made visible through serialized, complex TV.
Sense8 and sensibility, or how it became necessary
to queer the world in order to save it
by Deborah Shaw and Rob Stone
This analysis of the Netflix series Sense8 explores the queer, transgender and transnational utopianism of the series and celebrates its fans.
The queer politics of stealth gameplay
by Toni Pape
Stealth gameplay is about the tactical creation of imperceptibility. By looking at how stealth gameplay transforms hostile environments in a way that can also minimize harm, this essay argues for stealth gameplay’s potential for a queer political ethos
Queer stabilization of gender and
queer regulation of sexuality in I Am Jazz
by Mary Zaborskis
The TLC reality show I Am Jazz features a version of trans childhood where sexuality is an explicit preoccupation. The series represents and assimilates Jazz’s sexuality in queer ways that are ultimately in the service of securing a non-threatening narrative of trans identity and development for viewers.
Opening the field of transgender audience reception
by Beck Banks
Review of Andre Cavalcante, Struggling for Ordinary: Media and Transgender Belonging in Everyday Life
“Something to disclose”—notes on Disclosure and the possibility of trans camp
by Sid Cunningham
Increased trans representation in mainstream film and television may ultimately fail to disrupt negative stereotypes or produce real political gains, but Disclosure’s (2020) survey of a century of trans images tempers any disappointment with camp pleasure.
Queer TV performances that time forgot
by Katharine Mussellam
Review of Quinlan Miller, Camp TV: Trans Gender Queer Television History
Miller re-examines television history to reveal the importance of genderqueer performances in sitcoms.
Queer eye for reel Latinx: camp, chic and queer familia
in Ugly Betty and One Day at a Time
Astrid M. Fellner
Ugly Betty and One Day at a Time are queer TV shows because they manage to challenge norms of beauty, ethnicity, family, and heterosexuality through a performance of camp latinidad.
Can Queer TV teach on its own?
by Alexis Poirier-Samure
Review of Ava Laure Parsemain, The Pedagogy Of Queer TV.
Is queer televisual representation a standalone teacher, or should we construe it as a generative, but not autonomous, queer pedagogical tool?
Better worlds: queer pedagogy and utopia in Sex Education and Schitt’s Creek
by Tanya Horeck
In their depiction of better, queerer worlds, Sex Education and Schitt’s Creek offer politically progressive forms of escapist delight
Queer and trans filmmaking: a new pedagogy
Beck Banks and Miche Dreiling in
interview with Jöelle Rouleau
Navigating queer and trans sensibilities throught academia and film production, these three filmmakers get together to compare “how we make movies.” Their individual film practices and research careers let them create a new form of pedagogy, informed by their own experiences as queer and trans scholars.
Pre-making drag: RuPaul’s Drag Race spoiler fandom
and queer temporal imagination
by Sean Donovan
In RuPaul’s Drag Race fan communities online, competition spoilers—revealing future casts of drag queens aspiring to be America’s next drag superstar—prove to be an evocative form of queer fandom, restructuring media authority and creating ephemeral “before Drag Race” archives for competing queens that relish drag’s utopian potential against the show’s political limitations.
Are you my perfect match? Reality TV as a stage for
queer authenticity in MTV’s Are You the One?
by Philippa Orme
Analyzing MTV’s "sexually fluid" season of Are You the One? (2014-) unearths the disruptions between authenticity and performance at the heart of reality TV’s mode of representation and reconsiders the opportunities and challenges this genre presents as a stage for lived queer identity.
The queer politics of Korean Variety TV: state, industry and genre
by Grace Jung
South Korea’s anti-queerness is visible on an industrial and state level in the analysis of laws, the TV industry, and episodes of Ask Us Anything. Ask Us Anything also transgresses queer suppression and homophobia by exhibiting high camp elements, queer startexts, frequent gender bending and trans gender queer subjectivity despite the industry’s maintenance of a highly hegemonic-masculinist workplace practice through unquestioned hierarchies and exclusion of women
Cable access queer: revisiting Toronto Living with AIDS (1990-1991)
by Ryan Conrad
Analyzing the Canadian AIDS activist community television series Toronto Living With AIDS provides insight into how this extraordinary program came to be, how it was received by various imagined publics, how it ended, and why revisiting this series is useful for today’s video activists.
Film and TV
Adaptation as queer fan practice in Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal
by Yaghma Kaby
Examining the NBC series Hannibal provides insight into the ways in which this adaptation—as a queer fan practice of its creator, Bryan Fuller—both reveals and rectifies the erasures of its queerphobic source texts.
Queer adaption and becoming in NBC’s Hannibal
by Patrick Woodstock
Review of Kavita Mudan Finn and EJ Nielsen, eds.. Becoming: Genre, Queerness, and Transformation in NBC's Hannibal
This review focuses on a new edited collection about the NBC series Hannibal, outlining the various ways in which its authors queer the notions of seriality and adaptation while addressing the homophobia and transphobia endemic to the show’s source texts.
Beyond the gaze: seeing and being seen in contemporary queer media
by Nicole Morse and Lauren Herold
Exploring haptic visuality in contemporay queer film and TV, this essay engages what feminist media producer Joey Soloway calls "feeling seeing" as a methodological approach to analyzing the affective dimensions of queer love and vulnerability on screen from Carol to "San Junipero" to Moonlight.
by Yaghma Kaby
Review of Linda Belau and Kimberly Jackson, editors. Horror Television in the Age of Consumption: Binging on Fear.
Linda Belau and Kimberly Jackson’s anthology offers critical readings of U.S. television series in the horror genre, while simultaneously expanding the possibilities of defining the genre.
“Maybe you should handle dinner.” Food-based domesticity in
Veronica Mars’ regendered neo-noir trauma narrative
by Teresa Caprioglio
Veronica Mars flipped the script early in its run, but re-gendering the noir detective has double-edged implications for the no-longer-teen-girl detective and her homme fatal in Hulu’s season 4 takeover.
Science fiction paradox and the transgender look:
how time travel queers spectatorship in Predestination
by Jenée Wilde
The science fiction film Predestination (2014) moves beyond genre action thriller to engage with dramatic realism through its time-traveling intersex protagonist and, in the process, upends normative viewer assumptions about gender and sexuality.
India and Pakistan
Male subjectivity in New India: examining Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Pad Man
Two contemporary Hindi films Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (2017) and Pad Man (2018) trace the figuration of a distinct male subjectivity is found in Narendra Modi’s New India.
“Brand Priyanka Chopra”: neoliberal individuality,
citizenship, and the transnational female celebrity
by Namrata Rele Sathe
An enquiry into the multifaceted, transnational celebrity of Priyanka Chopra reveals the contradictions her star-brand presents within the real-life contexts of politics, gender and nationality.
Pakistani women and the “Other”: a study of Zindagi Gulzar Hai
by Sonal Vij
Even though the Pakistani TV drama Zindagi Gulzar Hai has "sold" well for being a progressive representation of women and a woman-focused drama, it ultimately is nothing but a guide to hegemonic regulations of the "new emerging women" in Pakistani society.
Cinema and its spatial predicates: landscapes of debt in search of justice
by Akshaya Kumar
This essay makes sense of the trauma of cinematic un-belonging, whether sedimented over a landscape situated in the crevices of caste-revenge and justice, or extracted from nonplussed strangers trapped in the photographic meanwhile of Hindi cinema's ground-zero, via two landmark films situated orthogonal to popular cinema's straightforward certitudes.
New Cinema Movement and the "no land's man":
questions of land in Ankur and Aakrosh
by Soumya Suvra Das
From early post-independence Hindi films like Do Bigha Zameen to New Cinema Movement's Ankur and Aakrosh, land as a central category in the cinematic imagination of Indian identity has made it imperative to trace the nature of social conflicts with agrarian, pre-capitalist communities and Hindi cinema's response towards them.
Film for a pandemic
Catastrophic politics: the disaster film and respite from privacy
by Todd McGowan
As a genre, the disaster film confronts a privatized world and presents us with a path toward establishing a public realm that privileges life in common.
Screening Jane Austen: Austen, adaptation, and life at a distance
by Jamison Kantor
In image-centric times, how should scholars and teachers approach the Austen industry’s dialogue-centric media? As always, Jane has an answer!
The unbearable monstrosity of bodies
by Eric Falardeu
Review of Maggie Hennefeld and Nicholas Sammond, eds., Abjection Incorporated: Mediating the Politics of Pleasure and Violence.
How can the concept of abjection help us understand our past and current media landscape?
Rethinking media historicity
The history of Jump Cut: 2013 interview with Julia Lesage and Chuck Kleinhans
by Rox Samer
Eugene, OR, July 2013. Conducted as a part of Rox Samer's dissertation research.
Transcribed and edited by Julia Lesage, May 2020.
Did pre-1979 Iranian cinema produce Third Cinema productions?
Pre-1979 Iranian Films and the question of Third Cinema
by Asefeh Sadeghi-Esfahlani
Industrial, political, formal and hegemonic obstacles to the development of Third Cinema in pre-1979 Iranian cinema.
Wild Archaeology and the changing face of Canadian documentary
by Peter Steven
Tracy German’s Wild Archaeology represents the explosion of Indigenous arts and media now underway in Canada and demonstrates a new excitement around the field of Indigenous archaeology.
The apostle desacralized: melancholic aesthetics and
the specter of assembly in José Martí: Eye of the Canary
by Eric Morales-Franceschini
A survey of cinematic renditions of Cuba's national hero, José Martí, with special attention to Fernando Pérez's critically acclaimed El ojo del canario (2010) and its (dis)avowals of constituent power.
Feminist re-voicings in Yours in Sisterhood
by Tessa Dwyer
Some thoughts on Irene Luztig's documentary Yours in Sisterhood (2018), feminism's recent history, mediated voice and cinema made strange through processes of reverse dubbing.
A materialist phenomenology of TV in the age of the hyper-serial
by Mike Wayne
Review of Denis Broe, Birth of the Binge: Serial TV and the End of Leisure.
The television serial has mutated in the context of neo-liberal capitalism.
Established and emerging filmmakers in Hong Kong: a generational tug‐of‐war
by Fangyu Chen
Alongside the dominating Hong Kong/Mainland co-productions has emerged an alternative filmic landscape led by the young generation of filmmakers in Hong Kong. They make new features different from the established generation—namely more self-expressive, locally-concerned and politically-minded—with films rooted deep in the region’s economy, culture, and politics.
Confrontation / Resistance / Resilience
War on Terror Westerns and the specter of imperial decline
by Shakti Jaising
War on Terror Westerns of the last decade provide valuable insight into a U.S. empire in decline.
Immersive soundscapes: Rana Eid’s Panoptic
by Norman Saadi Nikro
Analysis of the intensity of acoustic spheres, sound and noise, memory and affliction, in the cinematic style of the Lebanese filmmaker and sound engineer Rana Eid, in respect to her 2017 film Panoptic.
Indigenous feminism revitalizing the long take:
Waru and The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open
by Missy Molloy
Waru and The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open demonstrate the utility of long takes in strengthening Indigenous feminist filmmaking, which is currently gaining traction as a result of ambitious and collaborative films that spotlight the experiences of Indigenous women in remarkably varied circumstances.
Trouble in the heartland: class and culture in American Honey
by Milo Sweedler
In a fascinating retelling of The Wizard of Oz, Andrea Arnold’s American Honey sheds light on both the ongoing class war and the tumultuous culture wars that have consumed the United States in recent years.
Animal kingdom: the body politics of The Favourite
by Jamison Kantor
Jorgos Lanthimos’s grotesque, eccentric period piece reveals a central principle in conservative restorations (during the 18th and 21st centuries alike): the priority of certain kinds of bodies over others.
“Beautifully represented” or an attack on our culture?
Netflix’s Gentefied and the struggle over Latinidad/es
by Richard Mwakasege-Minaya and Juri Sanchez
Netflix’s Gentefied’s (2020-) reception among Latinxs is important for the ways in which it constitutes a contentious struggle over Latinidades (varying iterations of “Latinness”) by the show’s supporters (who celebrate Gentefied’s foregrounding of Latinx marginality—working-class, LGBT+, and Black Latinxs) and its critics (who condemned the show’s representation as negative depictions of Latinxs and endured a monolithic conception of Latinxs).
The last word
Since the last issue
by Julia Lesage