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Release: Sept. 18, 2002

Lecture, film screenings highlight feminist filmmaker's UI visit

One of the world's leading feminist film theorists and filmmakers will visit the University of Iowa Sept. 26-28 as an Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor. Laura Mulvey, professor of film and media studies at Birkbeck College, University of London, will give a free, public lecture, "The Pensive Spectator," at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26. She also will participate in a discussion of her film "Disgraced Monuments," (1994) following its screening Friday, Sept. 27 at 3:30 p.m. Both presentations will take place in room 101 Becker Communication Studies Building (BCSB).

In "Disgraced Monuments," Mulvey uses rare archival footage and interviews with sculptors, art historians, gallery and museum directors to examine the fate of monuments of Lenin, Stalin and other leaders of the former Soviet Union after the collapse of communism. The film is not available in the U.S. and Mulvey's visit provides a rare opportunity to view it.

In advance of her arrival, three of her other films will be screened on campus. "Riddles of the Sphinx," (1977) will be shown Sunday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. in 101 BCSB; "The Bad Sister" (1983) will be shown Monday, Sept. 23 at 3:30 p.m. in 107 English-Philosophy Building; and "AMY!" (1980) will be shown Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. in 101 BCSB.

Mulvey's landmark essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" (1974) established feminist film theory as a legitimate field of study, has been translated into at least 10 languages, is the most-cited essay in the entire discipline of film studies and is read regularly by students in literature, women's studies, art history, and related fields. Nearly 30 years later, Mulvey's ideas and concepts continue to be widely discussed and debated. They provide the foundation for every investigation into film spectatorship and into the representation of women in Hollywood cinema.

In addition, Mulvey has had a distinguished career as a filmmaker of experimental and documentary films. Her experimental films have played at all major international film festivals in Europe and in the United States, and three of her films are themselves the subject of individual chapters of subsequent important books on feminist film criticism.

She is a Fellow of the British Academy and a much sought-after speaker throughout Europe and the United States. In addition to frequent talks at colleges and art museums in London, Mulvey has been an invited lecturer at universities in Brazil, Finland, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Scotland, Italy, Canada, and the United States.

Mulvey's visit is sponsored by three UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences departments -- cinema and comparative literature, women's studies, and English. Her activities at the UI are supported by the Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program, which brings outstanding scholars to the UI campus for residencies ranging from a few days to an entire academic year. A native of Vinton, Iowa, Beam willed her farm to the UI in 1977. Her only university connection was a relative who graduated from the College of Medicine. Proceeds from the sale of the farm were used to establish the visiting professorships program in her name. Since 1977, hundreds of eminent scholars and scientists have visited the UI campus to give public lectures and to meet with students and faculty.