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Mary Ann Doane

Related: feminism - theory


Mary Ann Doane is George Hazard Crooker Professor of Modern Culture and Media and of English at Brown University. In 1996-1997 and 1998-2000 she was Chair of the Department of Modern Culture and Media. She has also served on the Executive Board of the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women. She has held visiting teaching positions at New York University and the University of Iowa. In 1994 she was Frederic Ives Carpenter Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago.

A specialist in film theory, feminist theory and semiotics, Doane holds degrees from Cornell University (B.A. English, summa cum laude, 1974) and the University of Iowa (M.A. Speech and Dramatic Art, 1976; Ph.D. Speech and Dramatic Art, 1979). She is the author of The Desire to Desire: The Woman's Film of the 1940s (Indiana University Press, 1987) and Femmes Fatales: Feminism, Film Theory, Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 1991). The Desire to Desire has been translated into Japanese and Femmes Fatales has been translated into Italian. Doane also served as co-editor of Re-Vision: Essays in Feminist Film Criticism (1984) and of Camera Obscura, no. 20-21: "The Spectatrix" (1989). In addition, she has published a wide range of articles on feminist film theory, sound in the cinema, psychoanalytic theory, sexual and racial difference in film, melodrama and television. Doane is currently completing a book on technologies of representation and temporality at the turn of the century, tentatively entitled Technologies of Temporality in Modernity.

Doane was a member of the Executive Council for The Society for Cinema Studies from 1986 to 1989 and served on the Film Division of the Modern Language Association from 1993-1997. She is a member of the editorial board of Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies and an advisory editor for Camera Obscura and Parallax. In 1990-91, she was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. She also received a Wriston Fellowship and a Pembroke Center Faculty Fellowship at Brown in 1982-83. --http://www.brown.edu/Departments/MCM/people/doane/maryann.html [Apr 2004]


  1. Femmes Fatales - Mary Ann Doane [Amazon US]
    A major work of feminist film criticism examining questions of sexual difference, the female body and the female spectator through a discussion of such figures as Pabst's Lulu and Rita Hayworth's Gilda.

  2. The Emergence of Cinematic Time : Modernity, Contingency, the Archive (2002) - Mary Ann Doane (Author) [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Hailed as the permanent record of fleeting moments, the cinema emerged at the turn of the 19th century as an unprecedented means of capturing time - and this at a moment when disciplines from physics to philosophy, and historical trends from industrialization to the expansion of capitalism, were transforming the very idea of time. In a world that itself captures and reconfigures the passing moments of art, history and philosophy, Mary Ann Doane shows how the cinema, representing the singular instant of chance and ephemerality in the face of the increasing rationalization and standardization of the day, participated in the stucturing of time and contingency in capitalist modernity. At this book's heart is the cinema's essential paradox: temporal continuity conveyed through "stopped time", the rapid succession of still frames or frozen images. Doane explores the role of this paradox, and of notions of the temporal indeterminacy and instability of an image, in shaping not just cinematic time but also modern ideas about continuity and discontinuity, archivability, contingency and determinism, and temporal irreversibility. A compelling meditation on the status of cinematic knowledge, her book is also an inquiry into the very heart and soul of modernity.

  3. The Desire to Desire: The Woman's Film of the 1940's (Theories of Representation and Difference) (1987) - Mary Ann Doane [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    What is female spectatorship? When Hollywood films are geared for an audience of women, what ideals do they tend to promote? How should feminist theory contend with the image of women that the cinema passes on? In The Desire to Desire Mary Ann Doane responds to these questions, focusing specifically on "woman's pictures" of the 1940s. She argues that while most of the films she discusses are conceived through lenses that are masculine in nature, feminists attempting to critique these films should not dismiss them as sexist or attempt to develop a way of seeing that is simply the opposite of the one handed down. Instead, Doane offers a critique of vision itself, contrasting the way the camera views the women in these films, the way the films' female characters look out onto their worlds, and the way the Hollywood movie industry manufactures images that it expects female audiences to consume. --Amazon.com

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