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British Women Amateur FilmmakersNational Memories and Global Identities$
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Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes and Heather Norris Nicholson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474420730

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474420730.001.0001

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Resisting Colonial Gendering while Domesticating the Empire

Resisting Colonial Gendering while Domesticating the Empire

Chapter:
(p.57) Chapter 3 Resisting Colonial Gendering while Domesticating the Empire
Source:
British Women Amateur Filmmakers
Author(s):

Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes

Heather Norris Nicholson

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474420730.003.0003

This chapter examines how colonial women amateur filmmakers often documented in detail their early and mid-twentieth century overseas travel and settlement experiences, jobs, sports and private and official events. Relying on cross-archival primary sources, it discusses the filmmakers’ simultaneous roles as vectors of colonising credos and commodified subalterns of imperial paternalism. It explores the historical discourse present across several colonial amateur films made by British women in South Asia, Africa, Papua New Guinea, and the Middle East between 1920s and 1940s. It also considers gender and racial hierarchies as shaped by imperial rule while confirmed or challenged by the filmmakers' prevailing perceptions of cinematic vocabulary and practice. Although traditionally seen as a predominantly male hobby, amateur filmmaking across the British Empire has been a pastime preferred by women too, almost on par with their male counterparts. It thus becomes possible to speak of a gender-based visual narrative identifiable across British colonial amateur filmmaking, one validated by the thematic choices made by women amateur filmmakers and their shared visual literacy. Finally, the chapter explores the differences and similarities in visual literacy between several amateur films made by British colonial women during the final years of the British rule in India.

Keywords:   colonial women amateur filmmakers, British colonial amateur films, gender identity, British Empire, British Raj, visual literacy, South Asia, Africa, Papua New Guinea, Middle East

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