Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Common Courses (School of Lit, Lang and Cult)

Postgraduate Course: Global Women Filmmakers (CLLC11200)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWomen have made films throughout cinema's history, and yet, the cinema auteur has most often been assumed to be male. This course will explore the extent to which the concept of auteurism is entangled with a patriarchal perspective and will consider the implications of feminist/female authorship for the future (and past) of cinema. To this end, we will look at a number of stylistically and thematically different films by global women filmmakers and examine the historical, socio-cultural and economic contexts of their work.
Course description The course focuses on rethinking the notion of film auteurism by engaging with the work of a number of global women filmmakers. We will look at how contexts of production and reception impact the work of female filmmakers, and we will explore a variety of issues regarding female agency and women¿s access to the means of production and distribution. What is the role of film festivals for the circulation of films made by women? Where are these films available and for which audience? In what ways are diasporic women filmmakers contributing to decolonising the gaze? How can we rethink the history of cinema in light of women¿s overlooked presence since its inception?

Combining theories from film studies, feminist and gender studies, and postcolonial feminist theories, the course investigates the concept of auteurism and the ways it has contributed to promoting a sexist perspective in which female agency is understood as secondary. We will look at the political necessity for female authorship and how it has been differently articulated according to historical, cultural, economic and political contexts. To this end, we will engage with a variety of films made by women, considering the role of the festival circuits; re-thinking the history of cinema, which has been constructed as male- and Western-centred; and examining how the work of diasporic women filmmakers is conducive to the process of decolonising the gaze. Particular attention will be given to issues of female agency both within the films (to what extent can the female characters exercise choice under patriarchy?) and in the context of production and reception (women filmmakers¿ access to the means of production and distribution), and how they reflect broader issues regarding women and/in the arts.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students on LLC MSc programmes get first priority to this course. If you are not on an LLC course, please let your administrator or the course administrator know you are interested in the course. Unauthorised enrolments will be removed. No auditors are permitted.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  20
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 x 1000-word short essay (30%)
1 x 3000-word essay (70%)
Feedback The first, relatively short essay, due at the middle of the semester, provides a feedback opportunity in advance of the final essay. In addition to individual feedback on both essays, general feedback will be provided to the class.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Conduct in-depth, critical analysis and comparative studies of a body of works in relation to current theoretical debates.
  2. Understand the role of contextual factors and the gendered status of authorship in shaping cinema (as industry, art, and viewing experience).
  3. Critically engage with feminist and postcolonial theories and apply them to the work of a selection of global women filmmakers.
Reading List
Cheu, H. F. (2007). Cinematic Howling: Women's Films, Women's Film Theories. Vancouver: UBC Press.
Foster, G. A. (1997). Women Filmmakers of the African and Asian Diaspora: Decolonizing the Gaze, Locating Subjectivity. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
Harrod, M. (2021). Heightened Genre and Women's Filmmaking in Hollywood: The Rise of the Cine-Fille. Cham: Springer International Publishing AG.
Levitin, J., Plessis, J. & Raoul, V. (2003). Women Filmmakers Refocusing. Vancouver: UBC Press.
Spivak, G. C. (1988/2010). Can the Subaltern Speak? In R. Morris (ed.), Can the Subaltern Speak?: Reflections on the History of an Idea (pp. 21-78). New York: Columbia University Press.
White, P. (2015). Women's Cinema, World Cinema: Projecting Contemporary Feminisms. Durham: Duke University Press.

Franco, J. (2018). The Difficult Job of Being a Girl: Key Themes and Narratives in Contemporary Western European Art Cinema by Women. Quarterly review of film and video, 35(1): 16-30.
Grant, C. (2001). Secret Agents: Feminist Theories of Women¿s Film Authorship. Feminist Theory, 2(1): 113-130.
Lindner, K. (2018). Film Bodies: Queer Feminist Encounters with Gender and Sexuality in Cinema. London: I.B. Tauris.
Mohanty, C. T. (2003). Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham: Duke University Press.
Naficy, H. (2018). An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Further Reading:
Gopinath, G., Halberstam, J. & Lowe, L. (2005). Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures. North Carolina: Duke University Press.
Johnston, C. (1979). Women¿s Cinema as Counter Cinema. In P. Erens (ed.), Sexual Stratagems: The World of Women in Film. New York: Horizon Press.
Mayne, J. (1990). The Woman at the Keyhole: Feminism and Women¿s Cinema. Bloomington; Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
Paszkiewicz, K. (2018). Genre, Authorship and Contemporary Women Filmmakers. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical Thinking; Aesthetic Judgement; Academic Writing.
Keywordscinema,feminism,post-coloniality,women filmmakers,film theory,gender
Course organiserDr Chiara Quaranta
Course secretaryMrs Vivien MacNish Porter
Tel: (0131 6)50 3528
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information