Rox Recommends: Netflix Edition

As we are all stuck at home self-quarantining (thanks, covid19), I thought I would make a recommended list of things to watch when totally bored out of one’s mind. Rather than make super serious arguments as to why YOU (as my student/my friend/my blood kin/a fellow lover of the cinema and TV box) MUST WATCH the titles below, I thought I would ditch the pompous professor hat and don another complete with quippy contentions. Without further ado, here is “Rox Recommends: The Netflix Edition”:

I’ve divided them into entrees and appetizers or (really) classics and new finds.

Classics

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Best Ang Lee.

Ex Machina

Because all dystopian science fiction should include femme fatales and dance parties.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

The Get Out of the 1960s, starring Sidney Poitier, Katherine Hepburn,  and Spencer Tracy.

Gilmore Girls

Smart women who talk fast—what more does one want from a Y2K coming of age TV series?

Goodfellas

Best Scorsese.

Moonlight

Most deserving Best Picture winner ever.

 Obvious Child

Best romantic comedy of the 21st century, and, yes, it is a competition.

Paris Is Burning

Would there be queer culture without this film? It’s hard (and painful) to imagine.

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Queer murderers for the win. Matt Damon and Jude Law play chess in the bath.

Star Trek: The Original Series

It’s the original. Also, Leonard Nimoy.

 

(Relatively) New Finds

For the Love of Spock

In case anyone else needs a documentary investigation into the appeal and significance of Leonard Nimoy (see Star Trek above).

Jenny Slate: Stage Fright

Jenny Slate is a Genius (see Obvious Child above).

The Lobster

As if sex and romance weren’t weird enough, let’s set the stakes even higher.

Mindhunter

My favorite serial killer series.

Pose

Paris is Burning but for 21st century.

Schitt’s Creek

Worth watching for David’s sweaters alone.

Sense8

Because we could all use a utopian science fiction series about global connectivity right now.

Tiger King

Grizzly Man meets Grey Gardens.

 

 

 

 

“Queer Acknowledgments”

9783319646220“Queer Acknowledgments,” an essay I wrote with Branden Buehler, has been published in Mapping Queer Space(s) of Praxis and Pedagogy, edited by Elizabeth McNeil, James E. Wermers, and Joshua O. Lunn. In the essay, we use social network analysis software to map queer studies’ acknowledgments sections. Doing as much allows us to identify social bonds unrecognized by typical models of academic kinship and picture a queer alternative to the genealogical trees that dominate our scholarly imaginations.

American Studies Association

This week I am looking forward to attending the American Studies Association conference in Chicago. On Sunday, I will be presenting alongside Cáel M. Keegan, micha cárdenas, and Laura Horak on a panel on “Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s Cinematic Pedagogy of Dissent.” Susan Stryker will serve as our chair and respondent. Laura and I will be building off our contribution to the Sense8 roundtable” and exploring how the embodied, haptic, intersubjective connection between the sensates and the series and its viewers have expanded, strengthened, and become more complicated in season two, leading to the #WeAreTheGlobalCluster fan protest of the series’ cancellation.

WisCon 41

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Anna-Marie McLemore and I after the WisCon 41 Award Ceremony

I am back in LA after yet another amazing WisCon. This was a big year for me. I presented on three panels (one on judging the Titpree, a second on Sense8, and a third in response to the vids that premiered at the vid party). The Sense8 panel, which included brilliant papers by micha cárdenas and Cáel Keegan and extended our discussion about the series’ utopianism from the Spectator roundtable, was especially well received. I also premiered my Hidden Figures  vid at the vid party and my student Nina Lamaria premiered “Meeting of Two (Space) Queens,” the Barbarella femslash vid she made for my “Sexuality and Science Fiction” course. The audience loved the latter and discussed it fervently at the panel the next day. I felt extremely proud to be her teacher. Finally, as a member of the 2016 James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award jury, I was given the incredible opportunity of introducing Anna-Marie McLemore and giving her the award for When the Moon Was Ours. I am sharing my speech about the novel below as well as the vid I made, which played for the 1000-person audience before Anna-Marie came on stage.

A few weeks after we selected When the Moon Was Ours as the Tiptree winner, I assigned the book to a small class of USC undergraduates. The seminar was “Sexuality and Science Fiction,” and I begged the forgiveness of those more fastidious students invested in the differences between science fiction and fantasy for sneaking in this work of magical realism. This stake in genre specificity was partially a result of my having assigned Joanna Russ’ “Speculations: The Subjunctivity of Science Fiction” on the first day of class. In that 1973 essay, she made the argument that what provides science fiction its dynamism is that “science fiction must neither be impossible nor possible.” By this she meant readers must judge the science-fictional-ness of any given story by what they themselves know of the actual world. In comparison, fantasy, she wrote, carries its own frame with it. “Actuality is the frame, fantasy (what could not have happened) exists inside the frame.” However, my last-minute choice to assign When the Moon Was Ours in a science fiction seminar was quickly forgiven.

True, in this novel my students encountered impossible characters, objects, and events quite unlike those we had read in any other text across the semester: a girl who grows roses from her wrist, their changing colors exposing her most intimate desires; pumpkins that turn to glass, only shattering and rising to the stars when long silenced truths are finally spoken; a river with the potential to either change one’s body, as one had always wished, or take it away, as one had also sometimes wished. However, to my students, many of whom were queer and at least one of whom was trans, When the Moon Was Ours and its impossible characters and events articulated the very possibility of their own lives. Too often rendered impossible by those who would wish them so, my queer and trans students found in the magic of Sam and Miel’s love (and that of Miel’s sister and Sam’s mother and even the Bonner sisters who learn to let go) the magic they experience every day. In speaking her and her husband’s truths, Anna-Marie McLemore shattered the frame that tells queer youth that their love could not or ought not to exist. She created imagery that made the forms of intimacy and kinship so familiar to me, my students, and thousands of others like us as palpable as a pollination brush on a flower petal. She gave us the moon and made it ours.

Before Anna-Marie comes on stage to accept her prize, I would like to play a vid I made of the book, which celebrates the queer love story at its core.

“Transgender Media” Spectator Issue

The special issue of Spectator on transgender media that I edited is off to the printer and should be available to readers in a matter of weeks. It includes essays by Laura Horak, Tom Sapsford, Quinlan Miller and Erica Rand, Lucy J. Miller, Eliza Steinbock, Rachel Reinke, and John Musser as well as a Sense8 roundtable featuring Moya Bailey, micha cárdenas, Laura Horak, Lokeilani Kaimana, Cáel M. Keegan, Geneveive Newman, Roxanne Samer, and Raffi Sarkissian. Check with your university library for a copy!

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Spectatorship: Shifting Theories of Gender, Sexuality, and Media

The book I edited withWilliam Whittington, Spectatorship: Shifting Theories of Gender, Sexuality, and Media, is available for pre-order with UT Press. It is designed for feminist and queer media studies classrooms and features contributions by Amy Lawrence, Gaylyn Studlar, Anna Everett, Stephen Tropiano, Mary Celeste Kearney, Christie Milliken, Sean Griffin, Hollis Griffin, Raffi Sarkissian, Jennifer DeClue, Harry Benshoff, Suzanne Scott, and others from across 25 years of the journal Spectator’s history.

Spectator CFP: Transgender Media

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As the 2016-17 Postdoctoral Scholar–Teaching Fellow in Cinema & Media Studies at USC, I will be editing an issue of Spectator on transgender media. Below you will find the CFP. Please email me if you have any questions about contributing.

Call For Papers

Transgender Media
Spectator 37.2

Between Laverne Cox appearing on the cover of Time and Caitlyn Jenner starring in her own E! reality series, the debut of Transparent on Amazon and the release of the first season of Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s Sense8 on Netflix, the last two years have witnessed an unprecedented eruption of transgender characters and stories. Few corners of U.S. popular culture, news, and media have remained untouched by these media events. This issue of Spectator is devoted to critically examining and contextualizing these events within contemporary feminist, LGBT, and anti-racist political movements; the changing media landscape; and the history of transgender media. How have race, sexuality, and class informed the materialization of these representations and their circulation? What are their genealogies and how has transgender media changed over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries? This issue is also particularly interested in contributions devoted to the study of the work of lesser-known transgender media artists. It is curious about the spaces that have been created within media or media cultures for genderqueer folks who live outside of the binary as well as how the stakes of visibility politics differ for trans women and trans men. Finally, the editor would like to organize a roundtable on Sense8. If you would like to participate in such a contribution, please specify your approach to and interest in the series.

Deadline for Submission: November 15th, 2016

Spectator is a biannual publication and submissions that address the above topics in the following areas are now invited for submission:

  • Transgender representation in media (historical or contemporary)
  • Transgender cultural production (the work of transgender filmmakers, showrunners, etc.)
  • Theories of transgender spectatorship or transgender audience studies
  • Transgender celebrities and the popular press
  • Transgender aesthetics or poetics
  • Transgender temporalities and media
  • Book reviews of recent scholarship in transgender media or related studies

Manuscripts to be considered for publication should be sent to:

Roxanne Samer, Issue Editor
The Bryan Singer Division of Cinema & Media Studies
School of Cinematic Arts, Room 320
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-2211

Email: samer@usc.edu

Submissions should be emailed directly to the issue editor. Manuscripts should include the title of the contribution and the name (s) of authors. As well as the postal address, email address, and phone numbers for author who will work with the editor on any revisions. All pages should be numbered consecutively. Contributions should not be more than 5,000 words. Please include a brief abstract for publicity. Authors should also include a brief biographic entry.

Articles submitted to the Spectator should not be under consideration by any other journal.

Book Reviews may vary in length from 300 to 1,000 words. Please include title of book, retail price and ISBN at the beginning of the review.

Forum or Additional Section contributions can include works on new archival or research facilities or methods as well as other relevant works related to the field.

Electronic Submissions and Formatting. Authors should send copies of their work via email as electronic attachments. Please keep backup files. Files should be Microsoft Word in PC or Mac format, depending on the editor’s preference. Endnotes should conform to the Chicago Manual of Style.

Upon acceptance, a format guideline will be forwarded to all contributors as to image and text requirements.

Download the PDF: SpectatorCFP_TransgenderMedia_Samer