People / Faculty

Emeriti Faculty

Linda Williams

Professor in Film & Media and Rhetoric

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Linda Williams teaches courses on popular moving-image genres (pornography, melodrama, and “body genres” of all sorts). She has recently taught courses on Oscar Micheaux and Spike Lee, Luis Bunuel, David Lynch and Pedro Almodovar, melodrama, film theory, selected “sex genres,” and The Wire. Her books include a psychoanalytic study of Surrealist cinema, Figures of Desire (1981), a co-edited volume of feminist film criticism (Re-vision, 1984), an edited volume on film spectatorship, Viewing Positions (1993) and Reinventing Film Studies (co-edited with Christine Gledhill, 2000). In 1989 she published a study of pornographic film entitled Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the Frenzy of the Visible (second edition 1999). This study of moving-image pornography looks seriously at the history and form of an enormously popular genre. She has also edited a collection of essays on pornography, Porn Studies, featuring work by many U.C. Berkeley graduate students (Duke, 2004). More recently she published Screening Sex (Duke, 2008), a history of the revelation and concealment of sex at the movies. In 2001 Williams published Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White, from Uncle Tom to O.J. Simpson (2001, Princeton)–an analysis of racial melodrama spanning the 19th and 20th centuries of American culture. Her most recent book is On The Wire (Duke 2014), a study of the HBO television serial. 


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