Julianne Pidduck – Charting The L Word: Lesbian/Queer Relations and Cultural Form

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5 à 7
April 2, 2014
Time: 5:00-7:00pm

Feminist Media Studio
CJ Building, Room 2.130
Concordia University
7141 Sherbrooke W
Montreal (Qc)

Julianne Pidduck will present a paper that explores lesbian/queer relationality associated with the American tv series The L Word (2004-2009). In a context of technological and industrial convergence, gay/lesbian niche marketing, the series inaugurated a new cultural form of lesbian visibility, the queer women’s “urban tribe.” Moving beyond isolated lesbian characters, The L Word introduces a complex array of diegetic and extra-diegetic lesbian kinship, sexual, social and commercial relations in American popular culture. The paper takes up The Chart, the series’ emblematic figure that documents girl-on-girl hook ups: Initially recorded by a character on a whiteboard, the Chart became a lesbian social networking site in 2007 both in the narrative and in “real” virtual space with OurChart, a commercial website linking L Wordcharacters and creative personnel with fans. In dialogue with anti/relational queer theory, Pidduck considers The Chart as a peculiar genealogical diagram of American urban queer women’s relationality. The paper develops two concepts of particular interest to feminist/queer media studies: “the relation” as a kinship figure that crosses scales (Strathern 1995) and “cultural form” as an assemblage of media, technological and social relations (Williams 1974; Berlant 1998).

Specialist in feminist and queer approaches to the moving image, Julianne Pidduck is author of Contemporary Costume Film: Space, place and the past (2004) and a short monograph on La Reine Margot (2005); her articles have appeared in Screen, GLQ, Camera Obscura, Cinémas, Media Culture & Society and Studies in French Cinema. Past and ongoing research projects explore gender and audiovisual genre (costume film, film noir); lgbtq visibility in Anglo-American and French cinema; and the ethics and aesthetics of screen violence (including a recent co-edited special issue with Brenda Longfellow on audiovisual responses to the Polytechnique massacre in the Canadian Journal of Film Studies). Current research projects include a study of lgbtq visibility in Québec cinema since the Révolution tranquille, and “Queer Kinship, Audiovisual Relations,” from which this talk is drawn. Pidduck is Associate Professor in Communication at the Université de Montréal.