A new book titled “American Women’s History on Film” by Interdisciplinary General Education (IGE) lecturers Rosanne Welch and Peg Lamphier analyzes the portrayal of women’s history in 10 American films including: “Salt of the Earth,” “Confirmation,” “Norma Rae,” “Silkwood,” “Joy Luck Club,” “Iron Jawed Angels,” “Monster,” “G.I. Jane,” “On the Basis of Sex” and “Hidden Figures.”
According to Welch and Lamphier, inequities in the American film industry have resulted in a lack of films highlighting critical moments in women’s history. Their book, “American Women’s History on Film,” aims to combat this issue and the marginalization of women filmmakers by showcasing high quality films, mostly written by women, while also analyzing the portrayal of women to determine historical accuracy. Also, in recognizing that women’s history is more accurately represented when women of color are included, the authors present an intersectional viewpoint of women’s history in the film industry.
“Recognizing that women of color remain vastly underrepresented in both film and film studies, we made a conscious effort to include a variety of women’s experiences,” said Welch and Lamphier. “Films, by their visual and artistic nature, can be considerably more compelling than a history textbook or monograph, but they often struggle with historical facts. Each essay on our ten chosen films explores that nexus between good story telling and factual accuracy.”
“American Women’s History on Film” is the latest volume in a larger series on Hollywood history from ABC-Clio Publishing, which also featured an earlier title, “The Civil War on Film,” by Welch and Lamphier. In all of their scholarly endeavors, Welch and Lamphier have sought to recognize the achievements of women while also advocating for their inclusion.
“As the events of this past summer from the ongoing #MeToo movement to overturning of Roe v. Wade strongly suggest, America continues to struggle with the reality that women are fully human, let alone important actors on the nation’s historical stage,” said Welch and Lamphier. “All the women’s history textbooks or encyclopedias in the world aren’t going to have the impact films can have because we are, by and large, a nation of watchers, not readers. The phrase ‘You have to see it to be it’ seems overused, but is exactly correct for many, many young women in this country, and the world.”
“American Women’s History on Film” adds to the growing list of books authored by Welch and Lamphier, including the four-volume encyclopedia: Women in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia and Document Collection, which was named to the 2018 Outstanding References Sources List and the 2018 list of Best Historical Materials by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association.
“Throughout our work, our goal has been to shine a light on some high quality, award-winning films, many written by women, and some of which are falling off streaming sites, which are making them harder to find,” said Welch and Lamphier. “Losing those stories is like losing parts of women’s history – when so little of women’s history has become as mainstream as it deserves to be.”
To learn more about “American Women’s History on Film,” contact Rosanne Welch and Peg Lamphier by firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. You may also visit the publisher’s website.