Bi+ Representation in Cinema
Monday 25 September 2023, 5 - 6pm GMT, online
We're pleased to be welcoming Prof Jacob Engelberg from the University of Amsterdam, as we mark Bi+ Day of Visibility. Following his talk, the floor will be open for questions, which you can send in advance. We look forward to welcoming you!
Although scholarship around queer sexuality and the cinema has proliferated across the past three decades, much of this work has implicitly reproduced a gay-straight binary which fails to attend to forms of sexuality beyond this taxonomy. Forms of sexuality involving desire towards people of more than one gender sometimes called bi+ or the bisexual umbrella are rarely prioritised in queer studies, but attention to them is useful in mapping out terrains of social-sexual organisation.
This talk suggests some of the key ways discussions around sexuality and the cinema can be complicated by attention to such forms of sexuality. Using bisexuality as a heuristic to conceptualise desire towards people of more than one gender, we consider the issues that attention to bisexuality and the cinema bring to the fore. These include the limitations of dominant notions of representation in accounting for sexuality on screen, the inefficacy of notions of good and bad representation in accounting for queer cinematic figures, and the reading practices through which forms of sexuality beyond the gay-straight binary can be brought into view. Ultimately, this talk seeks to introduce people to the useful trouble that attention towards cinematic bisexuality can wreak, suggesting ways in which its lessons can inform approaches to sexuality and visual culture more broadly.
Dr Jacob Engelberg is Assistant Professor of Film, Media, and Culture at the University of Amsterdams Department of Media Studies and the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. His research considers the relations between sexuality and film, particularly as these pertain to epistemology, hermeneutics, form, and historiography. His work has appeared in the Journal of Bisexuality and in Porn Studies, where he is editing a special issue around bisexuality and pornography. He also has contributions to edited collections under contract with Routledge, Wiley-Blackwell, Intellect, and Liverpool University Press. Jacob is currently completing a monograph proposing the utility of cinematic figures of bisexual transgression for queer film studies.
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