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Linda Williams

Related: post-feminism - visual culture - American academia - academic study of pornography

Terms coined: body genres

Titles: Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the "Frenzy of the Visible" (1989) - Porn Studies (2004)

Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the "Frenzy of the Visible" (1989) - Linda Williams [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Porn Studies (2004) - Linda Williams [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Linda Williams, a professor of rhetoric and film studies and, for the last five years, director of Berkeley’s Program in Film Studies, is drawn to film genres that some might characterize as lowbrow — among them melodrama and pornography. She has been regarded as something of an authority on the latter subject since 1989, when she published Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the “Frenzy of the Visible,” the first book to detail and analyze the history and forms of moving-image pornography. --http://www.berkeley.edu/news/berkeleyan/2004/09/30_williams.shtml [Mar 2005]


Linda Williams is an American professor in the Departments of Film Studies and Rhetoric of the University of California, Berkeley. Her books include Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White from Uncle Tom to O. J. Simpson; Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the "Frenzy of the Visible"; and Viewing Positions: Ways of Seeing Film and most lately, Porn Studies (2004). She has also made appearances in three documentary films 1: Pornography: A Secret History of Civilisation (1999), Inside Deep Throat (2005) and American Stag (2006). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda Williams [Aug 2006]


Linda Williams teaches courses on popular moving-image genres (pornography, melodrama, and "body genres" of all sorts) and is currently working on a study of sex in cinema and new media since the sixties. She has also recently taught courses on Oscar Micheaux and Spike Lee, Luis Bunuel, eastern and western forms of melodrama, film theory, and selected "sex genres." Her books include a psychoanalytic study of Surrealist cinema, Figures of Desire (1981), a co-edited volume of feminist film criticism (Re-vision, 1984), an edited volume on film spectatorship, Viewing Positions (1993) and Reinventing Film Studies (co-edited with Christine Gledhill, 2000). In 1989 she published a controversial study of pornographic film entitled Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the Frenzy of the Visible (second edition 1999). This study of moving-image pornography looks seriously at the history and form of an enormously popular, yet much-suppressed, genre. Williams's latest book is Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White, from Uncle Tom to O.J. Simpson (2001, Princeton). She is also editing a collection of essays on pornography, Porn Studies, featuring work by many U.C. Berkeley graduate students. http://filmstudies.berkeley.edu/faculty_bios/williams.html

It is truly time for these jewels both to speak

Now listen closely as she begins the book by quoting Denis Diderot's fable, written in 1748, in which the Sultan of Bagdad asks his genie to provoke the women of the court to speak frankly of their sexual adventures and needs. The genie responds by pulling out a silver ring and placing it on the Sultan's hands. The genie explains that when he turns the ring, the women will speak, but not through their mouths. The Sultan asks: "through what, then?" "Through that part which is the most frank in them," the Genie replies, "and the most knowledgeable about the things you wish to know... through their jewels.' Linda Williams and her colleagues are beginning to argue that now it is truly time for these jewels both to speak. --Douglas Davis, 1999, High Art, Photography, and Media in the Age of Digital Corporeality via http://www.ps1.org/body/Text/bod6.html

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