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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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Through Women’s Lens: Imperial and Postcolonial Class and Gender Hierarchies

Through Women’s Lens: Imperial and Postcolonial Class and Gender Hierarchies

(p.110) Chapter 5 Through Women’s Lens: Imperial and Postcolonial Class and Gender Hierarchies
British Women Amateur Filmmakers

Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes

Heather Norris Nicholson

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter charts how changing geo-political relations during late colonialism influenced conventional imperial ideologies of race, gender and identity and brought about a fundamental shift in women’s visual literacy. Through their unofficial, un-commissioned and private visual records of early post-colonial history, women were often able to promote new understandings of political, racial and gender transformations specific to crucial times for the British Empire and the Commonwealth. It argues that British women amateur filmmakers transcended traditional historical discourses in recording their own first-person narratives. The chapter centres on the analysis of particular sequences filmed in markedly different geo-political contexts by Queen Elizabeth II, Audrey Lewis, and two of Maharaja Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla’s British female friends. Their films prompt new perspective on how and why British women amateur filmmakers chose to record men as possible agents of national and imperial post-colonial identity. The cine-women discussed in this chapter witnessed and filmed radical shifts in representations of gender-driven, post-imperial roles within specific cultural norms and opportunities. As a result, questions of gendered and visual appropriation are considered in relation to feminist and postcolonial theories while acknowledging that the interpretation of British women's amateur visual practice often requires new methodologies and interdisciplinary approaches.

Keywords:   British Empire and the Commonwealth, postcolonial masculinities, Queen Elizabeth II, Audrey Lewis, Maharaja Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla, gender roles, imperial identity, postcolonial identity

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