domestic | private | familial: A one-day symposium

Coventry, UK, 22. January 2020.

Hosted by the Centre for Postdigital Cultures

22nd January 2020 11am - 1pm

The Grass, DMLL, Coventry University (located in Lanchester Library, please see map attached)

Followed by networking event for the Screen Studies Network 2pm - 4pm.

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Schedule, 11am - 1pm:

Dr Adrienne Evans & Dr Miriam De Rosa, Coventry University: Introduction

In this introduction, we present formative ideas that build on our separate work on the domestic, familial and private, in an attempt to formulate new theory. For us, these notions already overlap in multiple ways, in both popular and academic discourse; however, few accounts bring them together in dialogue. Briefly mapping out what they mean in our own work, we first discuss a filmic interpretation, through which these terms are shaped by the blurring of an apparatus that moves us from identity to flow. Second, we turn to the way these terms have been conceived in feminist theory, as ensuring a gender power relation in which public and private spheres of life are repeatedly challenged, but in ways that redirect us to the reassuringly normative and conventional. A significant overlap between these two ways of conceiving of the domestic, familial and private, then, is in observing a new fluidity, one that for both of us, in different ways, is connected to the ‘postdigital’. We do this outlining with a view to opening up a new approach to these terms, located at the intersection of film, media, cultural and feminist theory.

Dr Miriam De Rosa, Coventry University: Film and Domestic Space

Often represented and working as a mere backdrop, domestic space is an interesting component of film giving the opportunity to reflect upon issues that are traditionally linked to the home such as the private and the familial. What is seldom explored is the significant role of domestic space as practicable, malleable space of relation and for the self, as well as its potential function as a dispositif. This paper tries to shed light on the various readings that such interesting space allows for in, through and beyond film.

Dr Jorie Lagerwey, University College Dublin: Branding Motherhood: Jennifer Garner, Chrissy Teigen and Reese Witherspoon

This talk revisits the feminist cultural analysis of motherhood and branding I began in my 2016 book Postfeminist Celebrity and Motherhood. That project focused primarily on reality television, with Gwyneth Paltrow’s then-fledging GOOP and Jessica Alba’s Honest Company serving as the book’s only two case studies of mother-owned and -branded lifestyle companies. In 2016, for celebrities ageing out of Hollywood and moving toward self-branded lifestyle ventures, making motherhood a central part of their brand, I argued, was essential to a successful non-acting or post-acting career. Here, I’ll look at Jennifer Garner, Chrissy Teigen, and Reese Witherspoon’s celebrity mother personae and the relationship between their celebrity texts and their charitable work, the consumer products brands they’ve created and market, and their representation of their own motherhood. I use their Instagram profiles as the key text to analyze their self-performance because of its illusion of direct access and messy distinctions between frontstage and backstage performances. These three celebrities in particular offer insight at the intersections between age, race, and feminism via their embodied motherhood. I borrow the concept of the strategic—as mobilized by Ralina Joseph in Postracial Resistance (2019)—to analyze their use or mobilization of their motherhood in promoting their own brands and, crucially, positioning themselves within ongoing cultural battles over racial and gender equity.

Dr Maud Ceuterick, University of Bergen: A home on the road in Claire Denis' Vendredi soir

Home often appears in opposition to travel. In contemporary cinema, and in road movies in particular, the notion of home often signifies a familiar domestic space associated to women, and placed in contrast with mobility, adventure, and the 'masculine'. When we look at mobile women in film, such as in Claire Denis' subversion of the road movie genre Vendredi soir (2002), home loses its gendered dimension and becomes a space for intimacy and affective exchanges that materialises in different places. This paper argues that the film challenges traditional notions of home and gender by bringing attention to bodies and their micro-relations to space. The haptic aesthetic of Vendredi soir (2002) gives cars and hotel rooms, in between public and private, what I call 'affirmative forms', counteracting thereby the negative affects of navigating a city dominated by men, and portraying space as inhabited and in constant transformation through social relations.

Followed by Screen Studies Network, sharing ideas on areas of interest, DMLL Teaching Room 2-4pm.

Venue circled below - signs will be provided on the day.