There's no place like home: homemaking, making home, and femininity in contemporary women's filmmaking and the literature of the MÉTROPOL and the MAGHREB

by Weber-Fève, Stacey A.

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation examines the problematic location of home, the traditional female activity of homemaking, and the representation of female subjectivity in contemporary cinematic, (auto)biographical, and fictional texts by several contemporary French and Francophone women artists. These writers and filmmakers question the home as a female interior space in which female protagonists traditionally become objects or accessories. They also bring to the fore multiple representations of contemporary French, Algerian, and Tunisian femininity. In these texts, the artists embrace and foreground domestic space, female housekeeping activities, and women’s ideological roles in order to (re)appropriate the normative gender discourses of their homelands. They accomplish these goals by revealing how the home within each society functions subversively as a space of socio-political-historical contention. Using Assia Djebar’s work as a source of theoretical departure, this study illustrates the representation of women in body, by voice, and through the gaze in a collection of narratives created by French-speaking women artists from the Métropol and the Maghreb. Using feminist film theoretical and lifewriting critical perspectives, I examine the functions of the gaze and the effects of voicing the personal for women of France and North Africa. I also introduce theories of domesticity when considering the role and position of the home in the processes of personal identity formation and social gender construction. This dissertation considers women’s coming to voice through women’s (re)appropriation of hegemonic discourses of representation, use of language, and authority in speaking as made possible through the domestic space of the home and the arts of homemaking. Through a postcolonial lens of destabilization and the celebration of the in-between, hybrid spaces of first-person feminine expression and representation, I show how the relationship between “center” and “margin” becomes problematized and overturned in the work of Assia Djebar, Annie Ernaux, Simone de Beauvoir, Raja Amari, Coline Serreau, Leïla Sebbar, and Yamina Benguigui.
Bibliographical Information:


School:The Ohio State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:contemporary french language women writers and filmmakers assia djebar annie ernaux simone de beauvoir raja amari coline serreau leila sebbar yamina benguigui domesticity home s lifewriting personal cinema


Date of Publication:01/01/2006

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