Camera obscura

Title Camera obscura: feminism, cinema and media studies
Location Santa Barbara, California
Publisher Duke University Press
Periodicity Thrice a year
ISSN 0270-5346 e-ISSN: 1529-1510
Published Since 1976-
Indexed Holdings 2000-


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Periodical's Overview

“Since its inception, Camera Obscura has devoted itself to providing innovative feminist perspectives on film, television, and visual media. It consistently combines excellence in scholarship with imaginative presentation and a willingness to lead media studies in new directions. The journal has developed a reputation for introducing emerging writers into the field. Its debates, essays, interviews, and summary pieces encompass a spectrum of media practices, including avant-garde, alternative, fringe, international, and mainstream.

Camera Obscura continues to redefine its original statement of purpose. While remaining faithful to its feminist focus, the journal also explores feminist work in relation to race studies, postcolonial studies, and queer studies.”

Selected Subject Headings

  • Christian gays - religious aspects
  • Divas
  • Gay culture
  • Hairstyles - social aspects
  • Homosexuality in mass media
  • Homosexuality in motion pictures
  • Homosexuality - China
  • Homosexuality, Male - psychological aspects
  • Lesbian bars in motion pictures
  • Lesbian culture
  • Lesbian feminism
  • Lesbian mothers - United States
  • Lesbianism in motion pictures
  • Transsexuals - New Zeeland
  • Transsexuals in motion pictures
  • Wicked (musical)


An introducer to the U.S. of different psychoanalytic and feminist theoretical frameworks from which to read our increasingly mediated screen-world, Camera obscura could be thought of as the U.S. equivalent of the British journal Screen. A combative periodical, its influence has been seminal in the developing of a particular branch of American film theory in which the world of images and sounds produced by the mainstream are nothing else but repressed desires to be unpacked by a team of expedient academics. For this reason, Camera obscura is an excellent thermometer of this particular branch of United State’s academic subconscious, as the Selected Subject Headings give an indication of. But these are not the only unpacked repressions: stagnant, as perceived by them, race relations and representations in the United States are also one of their main obsessions.

Luckily for those with other interests, the journal also delivers excellent in-depth and nuanced articles on non-Western cinema histories and media, as well as what in the U.S. is called “art film”: Jean-Luc Godard, Chantal Akermann, Harun Farocki, Jean-Marie Sraub, Danièle Huillet, Terrence Malick or Carl Theodor Dreyer among the rethought figures.

Always with an acute awareness of social, political, and historical conditionings, Camera obscura is a crucial journal to be aware of current popular media academic discourses. And sometimes, to read about cinema and the artists that produce it.

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