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Women of Vision

Histories in Feminist Film and Video

2001

Alexandra Juhasz, editor

Women of Vision

Legends and rising stars of feminist film and video tell their stories.

Alexandra Juhasz asked twenty-one women to tell their stories-women whose names make up a who is (and who will be) who of independent and experimental film and video. What emerged in the resulting conversations is a compelling (and previously underdocumented) history of feminism and feminist film and video, from its origins in the fifties and sixties to its apex in the seventies, to today.

Interviewees: Pearl Bowser, Margaret Caples, Michelle Citron, Megan Cunningham, Cheryl Dunye, Vanalyne Green, Barbara Hammer, Kate Horsfield, Carol Leigh, Susan Mogul, Juanita Mohammed, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Eve Oishi, Constance Penley, Wendy Quinn, Julia Reichert, Carolee Schneemann, Valerie Soe, Victoria Vesna, and Yvonne Welbon.

No other book like this exists. The interviews in Women of Vision are with very articulate women who have played an important role in U.S. independent media culture over the past three decades. It will surely be a classic in the field.

Julia Lesage, University of Oregon

Alexandra Juhasz asked twenty-one women to tell their stories-women whose names make up a who is (and who will be) who of independent and experimental film and video. What emerged in the resulting conversations is a compelling (and previously underdocumented) history of feminism and feminist film and video, from its origins in the fifties and sixties to its apex in the seventies, to today.

Women of Vision is a companion piece to Juhasz’s 1998 documentary of the same name. The book presents the complete interviews, allowing readers to hear directly the voices of these articulate, passionate women in an interactive remembering of feminist media history. Juhasz’s introduction provides a historical, theoretical, and aesthetic context for the interviews.

These subjects have all shaped late twentieth-century film and video in fundamental ways, either as artists, producers, distributors, critics, or scholars, and they all believe that media are the most powerful tools for effecting change. Yet they are a very diverse group, with widely varying personal and professional backgrounds. By presenting their interviews together, Juhasz shows the differences among those involved in feminist media, but also the connections among them, and the way in which the field has been enriched by their sharing of knowledge and power. In the end, Juhasz not only records these women’s careers, she broadens our understanding of feminism and shows how feminist history and documentary are made.

Interviewees: Pearl Bowser; Margaret Caples; Michelle Citron; Megan Cunningham; Cheryl Dunye; Vanalyne Green; Barbara Hammer; Kate Horsfield; Carol Leigh; Susan Mogul; Juanita Mohammed; Frances Negrón-Muntaner; Eve Oishi; Constance Penley; Wendy Quinn; Julia Reichert; Carolee Schneemann; Valerie Soe; Victoria Vesna; and Yvonne Welbon.

Women of Vision

Alexandra Juhasz is associate professor of media studies at Pitzer College and an author and producer of independent film and video.

Women of Vision

No other book like this exists. The interviews in Women of Vision are with very articulate women who have played an important role in U.S. independent media culture over the past three decades. It will surely be a classic in the field.

Julia Lesage, University of Oregon

Women of Vision should serve as a challenge to activists and artists to ensure that feminist film and video does not fade into obscurity. It might also push the rising generation of video activists to explore more innovative and experimental forms, to take up feminist theory, and to think through matters of representation and subjectivity. Perhaps the next generations of feminist theory and media art will be found among them.

In These Times

Feminist film? Isn’t this an oxymoron? Certainly the latest starving Hollywood actress could swear to the absence of any kind of sisterhood on the silver screen. But it’s precisely because feminist media is often so hidden, forgotten and underfunded that a book like this is so important. There are women out there engaged in film. Women of Vision is a hefty reckoning of feminist film. In 21 interviews with every type of ‘woman of vision’ you can imagine-queer, straight, black, white, young, old and everything in between-Alexandra Juhasz explores personal, artistic and political questions in an attempt to understand this still relatively young cinematic movement. Perhaps this book’s greatest use is to re-create a community by inspiring dialogue and support within this ever-changing artistic world.

Willamette Week

Women working in independent film and video outside of Hollywood are unhampered by Hollywood’s conventional market appeal to male viewers and can avoid entrenched tropes of masculinity and femininity. To learn what a variety of these women (including writers, directors, producers, distributors, and educators) say they themselves want, Alexandra Juhasz’s new book is an important source. Juhasz has created a postmodern book that goes to great lengths to disallow any one narrative-any one voice, any one way to create feminist media history-to dominate.

Feminist Collections

Women of Vision

Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments

Introduction

1 • Pearl Bowser
2 • Carolee Schneemann
3 • Barbara Hammer
4 • Kate Horsfield
5 • Margaret Caples
6 • Julia Reichert
7 • Michelle Citron
8 • Vanalyne Green
9 • Constance Penley
10 • Susan Mogul
11 • Carol Leigh
12 • Juanita Mohammed
13 • Wendy Quinn
14 • Victoria Vesna
15 • Valerie Soe
16 • Yvonne Welbon
17 • Frances Negron-Muntaner
18 • Cheryl Dunye
19 • Eve Oishi
20 • Megan Cunningham

Afterword

Notes

Contributors