The Feminist Media Histories Initiative is a three-year project to build and sustain an interdisciplinary, inter-generational community of feminist media historians at UC Santa Cruz by promoting public engagement, developing curriculum, and supporting graduate student and faculty research. We will offer grants for scholarly research and travel, sponsor public workshops and events, and help develop curriculum across campus. This initiative is funded by the UC Santa Cruz Presidential Chair held by Professor Shelley Stamp, 2018-21.
The Feminist Media Histories Initiative seeks to support research and teaching that charts histories of film, radio, television, video, playable media, digital culture and other technologies across a range of time periods and global contexts. These histories explore the roles that gender and sexuality have played in varied media technologies, while documenting the role of women, non-binary individuals and LGBTQ communities as audiences, players and consumers, as creators and executives, as critics, writers and theorists, as technicians and laborers, and as educators, activists and archivists. They are premised on the understanding that gender and sexuality have been instrumental, but overlooked, ingredients in both the evolution of modern media and their cultural influence, and that feminist histories are essential to understanding the social, industrial and aesthetic impact of these media. A feminist approach also recognizes the intersectionality of gender identity, race, sexuality, class and global geopolitics. As our media landscape continues to evolve, histories of media platforms and technologies become all the more important. Often that “history” is only a few years old and completely ephemeral, so new historiographic methods and approaches are required. New technologies have also produced an explosion in digital archiving that prompts critical questions about what constitutes an archive and how historians – both scholarly and popular – might make use of these materials.
This initiative seeks to position faculty and graduate students at UC Santa Cruz as key participants in this evolving subfield by fostering faculty and graduate student research, providing tools for public engagement, and developing curriculum at the graduate and undergraduate level.