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    ‘The other’ women: Black women as the double in female gothic cinema

    Weston, Kelli (2022) ‘The other’ women: Black women as the double in female gothic cinema. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    The Female Gothic has traditionally concerned and addressed the anxieties of white middle-class women, conned to the domestic by patriarchy. My dissertation focuses on the representation of Black women in horror cinema, specifically the thinly concealed Black feminine in the American domestic, where she has popularly been relegated in the cultural consciousness. Combining W. E. B. Du Bois’s concepts of double-consciousness and the veil with D. W. Winnicott’s mother-mirror role theory, I outline the spectral Black feminine as both character and spectator. I argue that, whether veiled or visualized, the Black feminine frequently emerges in films that adopt the Female Gothic model through what I identify as the racialized female double. My dissertation charts her (RFD) expression through a textual analysis of diegetic performances of racialized and gendered looking. By situating these films in their respective socio-historical contexts, principally applying psychoanalysis and DuBois’s contributions to race theory, the racialized female double represents the threat Black femininity poses to the social order in cinema that centers white spectatorship and follows the Female Gothic formula. However, contemporary narratives of fear from filmmakers Kasi Lemmons and Jordan Peele establishes a Black Female Gothic cinema tradition characterized by a purposeful engagement with Black feminine spectatorship that harnesses the racialized female double to expose and disrupt patriarchal constructions of Black women, empowered by an intersectional gaze. I conclude with a discussion of the genre’s capacity to accommodate the Black feminine experience in a way that equally reflects on its own structural technologies of Othering and formidably expresses her rebellion against white patriarchal confinement.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Additional Information: Date of award confirmed as 2022 by registry.
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2022 11:13
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 15:29


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