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Screen Seminar: Serialised Bodies

Screen Seminar: Serialised Bodies

Film & TV Studies Screen Seminar: ARC Public
Date: Tuesday 07 February 2023
Time: 17:00 - 19:00
Venue: Studio Two, Advanced Research Centre
Category: Films and theatre, Academic events
Speaker: Dr Abi Jenkins & Dr Mariana Pintado Zurita

Screen Seminar: Serialised Bodies
Tuesday 7th February, 5-7pm
Studio Two, Advanced Research Centre, 11 Chapel Lane

Film and Television Studies are delighted to be able to invite you to our first Screen Seminar for this semester. On Tuesday, February 7th we will be hosting Dr Abi Jenkins and Dr Mariana Pintado Zurita (two newly minted PhDs, both coming out of Film and Television Studies at Glasgow). They’ll be speaking on the topic of ‘serialised bodies’, which I suspect will have some strong interdisciplinary resonance with others in the School. It would be great if you could come along, as we profile some of the excellent scholarship coming out of the school! Some light refreshments (wine/juice/crisps) will be provided….

Secret Bodies, Prosthetic Bodies (Abigail Jenkins)

For most people in the US and UK, fat is the undesirable substance we lose or shed, burn or melt off, reduce or cut back; we worry about gaining weight, packing on pounds, or beefing up. This constant negotiation of size has fostered a representative trope on television, which I term the ‘thin woman within.’ This is a concept both familiar and simple: below many layers of subcutaneous fat and visible cellulite lies a truer, thinner self who – once unleashed in an exertion of self-control measured by the number of pounds shed – will finally be capable of living a full life.

In this seminar, I explore the trope of the thin woman within by analysing the ways in which fat prosthetics have been used to construct large bodies (literally and figuratively) on television. I look at a broad range of textual examples from the last decade, from reality programmes Secret Body (BBC 2021 - ) and My 600-Lb Life (TLC 2012 - ) to fiction shows My Mad Fat Diary (Ch4 2013 - 2015) and The Thing About Pam (Paramount+ 2022). Drawing from approaches in disability and queer studies, I demonstrate how fatness continues to stand in as a visual marker of shame and failure removed from embodied experience; further, I consider fat in relation to the serial form, arguing that the neoliberal structures of governance and the moral frameworks that guide public discourse about fatness are enabled and intensified in the patterns and rhythms of contemporary television.

Dr. Abigail Jenkins (she/they) is a Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at the University of Glasgow. Their current research looks at the depiction of fatness in contemporary British and American TV through intersectional feminist textual analysis and autoethnography. Jenkins has forthcoming publications in Critical Studies in Television and Queer Studies in Media & Popular Culture.

Serialised bodies in time. (Mariana Pintado Zurita)

Historically, the film industry has compelled actors, especially women, to push back time and forever look young. However, the ageing body tells a story. In recent years, popular films have returned in the form of sequels and with them their original characters having aged according to the time passed since we first met them. Stories like Top Gun (1986), Blade Runner(1982), Trainspotting (1996) and many others reintroduced us to their protagonists and catch us up with the way time has affected their stories, their bodies and their worlds.    

In this seminar, I will explore how the ageing body of the character/actor help to tell the stories of what I call the time-critical sequels. I will develop how the duality of the character/actor and the corporeality/embodiment of their ageing body becomes a means through which time is shown and a story is told. I will do this by analysing the case studies of Fançois Truffaut’s The Adventures of Antoine Doinel, Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy (1995-2013) and Dany Boyle’s T2Trainspotting (2017) and Blade Runner 2049 (2017). I will do this while drawing from Deleuze’s philosophical project along with social theories of time.

Dr Mariana Pintado Zurita (she/her) recently finished her PhD studies. Her thesis research investigates time and temporal experience in long-term sequels and film series. The project focuses on a close textual analysis of sequels drawing from Deleuze’s philosophical project along with social theories of time. She gained her bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and went to complete a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies at the University of Kent in Canterbury.

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