Are there really no women in Indian cinema?

Join us for the first Cultivating Research seminar of the semester on Thursday 11th February, 5.30-7pm in the Ben Elton Room (SL01) of the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama, University of Manchester.

Dr. Valentina Vitali (University of East London): ‘Comparative film history: are there really no women in Indian cinema?’

Harry Harootunian and Naoki Sakai observed that a theory cannot be the property of a national, ethnic, racial or civilisational identity. Unlike empirical knowledge, a theory does not divide people into those who know and those who do not, for theory is a form of sociability that allows all those willing to ask questions to relate to one another. Comparative film theory is a line of enquiry that seeks to make this form of sociable epistemophilia possible. This presentation will query the position from which film history has, historically, spoken, and will argue that being ‘out of place’ – out of one’s comfort zone – is as necessary a condition for it as is the desire to relate to one another’s cinema. The paper invites you to consider these ideas by exploring a particular case: the historiography of Indian cinema and, within it, the complete invisibility of women.

Valentina Vitali is Reader in Film at the University of East London. She is the author of Capital and Popular Cinema: The Dollars Are Coming! (MUP 2016),Hindi Action Cinema: Industries, Narratives, Bodies (OUP and Indiana 2008), and the co-editor, with Paul Willemen, of Theorising National Cinema (BFI 2006).





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