Politics and the Representation of Lesbians in North American Cinema, 1960’s – Present

Moderator: Roberta Pato
Time: Tuesdays, 1:30-4:00 pm [Note: longer time]
Place: Applewood, 1st Floor Meeting Room, One Spencer Drive, Amherst
Parking: Ample parking on site; please park on the outside curve of Spencer Drive, not in the parking lot!

This seminar will examine the changing representation of lesbians in cinema through the decades in relation to the changing social and political mores of the time.

Discussion and screening of 10 films produced in North America created in each decade from 1960 to the present time. Participants will delve into the political and social acceptance/rejection of homosexuality at the time each film was made and discuss other films that were created during each decade.

Format: Seminar

Role of participants: Before each screening one participant will send out a written presentation by email discussing the laws and political and social climate of the decade and society’s acceptance and rejection of homosexuality. After the screening, another participant will lead the discussion on how the film portrays this climate. Another participant can discuss other films available in this genre during the decade. In some cases, due to the length of some of the films, the seminar may need to run for an additional ½ hour in order to fully accommodate discussion.

Number of participants (including the moderator): 18

Resources: Daughters of Desire, Lesbian Representations in Film – Shameem Kabir, The Celluloid Closet – Vito Russo, New Queer Cinema – B. Ruby Rich, 50 Years of Queer Cinema – Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince, The Gay Revolution – Lillian Faderman

The Moderator: I am a collector of Lesbian Film and currently I have amassed over 200 titles. I am an avid believer in Lesbian visibility in the media (film, art, TV, Publication) as a means for acceptance in society.