Feminisms and Television from Wonder Woman to Hannah Horvath Feminisms and Television from Wonder Woman to Hannah Horvath

Dr Hannah Hamad

 

Hannah’s research is principally focussed on feminist and postfeminist cultures of popular film and television, but with related interests in cultures of stardom and celebrity, especially from the perspective of gender, race and ethnicity. She has recently begun working in the field of feminist media history, with particular focus on the relationship between women in UK media and feminist activism in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Research Overview

Hannah’s first major research project was on the postfeminist representation of fatherhood in contemporary US film, television and media. It originated from her doctoral studies in this area at the University of East Anglia from 2004-2008, where she worked under the supervision of Professor Diane Negra, now Professor of Film and Screen Cultures at University College Dublin.

This project made a significant contribution to scholarly theorisations of postfeminist masculinities, and it resulted in the publication of the first book-length study to deal primarily with postfeminist masculinity as a cultural identity formation, and the first to explore the relationship between fatherhood and postfeminist discourse in popular cinema.

The book interrogates representations of fatherhood across the spectrum of popular US film of the early twenty-first century. It situates them in relation to postfeminist discourse, identifying and discussing dominant paradigms and tropes that emerge from the tendency of popular cinema to configure ideal masculinity in paternal terms. It analyses postfeminist fatherhood across a range of genres including historical epics, war films, westerns, ‘bromantic’ comedies, male melodramas, action films, family comedies, and others. It also explores recurring themes and intersections such as the rejuvenation of aging masculinities through fatherhood, the paternalised recuperation of immature adult masculinities, the relationship between fatherhood in film and 9/11 culture, post-racial discourse in representations of fatherhood, and historically located formations of fatherhood.

It is now widely cited in new scholarship to emerge in the growing field of studies of contemporary mediated masculinities. Reviews have described it as making “a key contribution to contemporary film and media studies, as well as contemporary gender studies” (Elana Levine, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), and as “an important study bringing together a pair of too often neglected subjects, popular contemporary movies outside the critical canon and the representation of masculinity in those movies” (Mike Chopra-Gant, London Metropolitan University).

Hannah’s work on mediated fatherhood extends to publications in journals like Celebrity Studies and edited collections like Joel Gwynne and Nadine Muller’s Postfeminism and Contemporary Hollywood Cinema. Although her research interests have expanded, she still works in this area.

Recently, Hannah was invited to participate in the Feminist Media and Cultural Studies summer school at Lancaster University to speak to the theme of gender and celebrity through a case study of the celebrity fatherhood of Hollywood star Ryan Gosling.

What Next

Hannah’s newest research project deals with the relationship between second wave feminist activism and the emergence of feminist media studies in the UK, centring on the activist pressure group ‘Women in Media’ that was comprised of women media professionals and was active from 1970-1985. And focussing on the lynchpin figure of Mary Stott who co-founded the group while working as editor of the Guardian women’s page.

Publications:

 

News articles:

Videos:

  • Hannah being interviewed about gender and sexuality in the James Bond films in Stuart Arnott’s video essay ‘The Unloveable James Bond’, produced for the BFI Love season in 2015. https://youtu.be/v4qpGpHEKEE

Events:

LSE Commission on Gender, Inequality and Power

Hannah gave evidence to the Media and Culture evidence gathering session of the LSE Commission on Gender, Inequality and Power in April 2015. http://www.lse.ac.uk/genderInstitute/research/commission/mediaSession.aspx

Her evidence was used in the Commission’s subsequent report, which published its findings. http://www.lse.ac.uk/genderInstitute/pdf/Confronting-Inequality.pdf

She then responded to the Commission’s 2015 findings and recommendations at the LSE event ‘Confronting Gender Inequality in Uncertain Times’ in January 2017 which reviewed them in light of social, political and economic change since that time, and ahead of publication of an update to the report. http://www.lse.ac.uk/genderInstitute/events/eventsProfiles/201617/Confronting-Gender-Inequality-in-Uncertain-Times.aspx

BFI Black Star

Hannah participated in the event ‘On Blackness, Cinema and the Moving Image: a KCL Symposium’, which was organised between the Department of Film Studies at King’s College London and the British Film Institute as part of the BFI Black Star season in November 2016, by delivering her talk ‘The Cultural Politics of Black Stars in 10 Iconic Images’ The event is reviewed here by Bex Shorunke (with photography by Runyarao Mapfumo) in gal-dem magazine: http://www.gal-dem.com/blackness-cinema-moving-image-kings-college-london-symposium/

She later participated in the comedian themed entry in the Black Star Stories series of library talks at the BFI Reuben Library in December 2016, where she delivered a talk on Eddie Murphy and Will Smith.

BFI Love

Hannah contributed to the event ‘The Feminist Guide To Love: The Whitewash of Romance’, co-organised between The Bechdel Test Fest and the British Film Institute, in November 2015. She delivered a ‘lightning talk’ that presented an academic perspective on the topic:
http://bechdeltestfest.com/2016/the-feminists-guide-to-love-the-whitewash-of-romance/

She later participated in the BFI Love study day ‘Approaches to Rom Com’ also in November 2015.

 

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