Five College Women's Studies Research Center

Women Filming Against the Grain in Syria

On Friday, December 2 at 1:00pm, Stefanie Van de Peer, Five College Women's Studies Research Associate from the University of Stirling, will give a talk entitled “Women Filming Against the Grain in Syria.” As the unrest in the Arab world and specifically in Syria dominate world news, a transnational approach to the Levant is imperative in order to give consideration to its rich historical circumstances and its hybrid contemporary reality. This paper looks at documentary films made by pioneering and emerging women from Syria, who are going against the grain to investigate their own culture and the political dissidence within that culture. Women's representations especially are contested material, as the state likes to see a specific image on the screen that is not always concurrent with reality. While censorship and government interference limit filmmakers in their subject matters, it also encourages them to be more creative in their approach to the issues they want to represent. Instead of limiting our vision of the Levant to what we see on TV and cinema screens represented through the eyes of European and American journalists and filmmakers, it is more important to understand the self-representations of women from the area, as they deal with contentious issues such as war and peace, human rights, women's rights and political dissidence. (Van de Peer Flyer)