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In this dissertation, I compare the ways in which the voices of Maghrebi migrant women in France are represented in over sixty films spanning documentaries, short films, made-for-television films, and feature films. After an introduction setting out the theoretical and methodological framework for my research, addressing aspects of post-colonial studies, gender studies, and film studies, a separate chapter is devoted to each of the four film genres in question. My analysis of documentaries depicting first-generation women from the Maghreb considers the extent to which different degrees of intervention by the director at each point in the filmmaking process – and particularly during the editing process – influence the ways in which the women's voices are "framed" in the films and/or are manipulated or silenced in the process. My work on short films examines the ways in which the voices of first-generation Maghrebi women are communicated through this particular medium and highlights the particular significance of objects such as letters, photographs, and food, which often serve as short cuts or substitutes for verbal communication and carry multi-layered meanings. In my analysis of French made-for-television films, I consider what it means for Maghrebi migrant women to appear to achieve agency in these films and analyze the means by which they do so (or fail to do so). The final chapter of this study looks at feature-length fiction films and examines the means by which they represent the voices of the first-generation Maghrebi women – often with the intention of bringing viewers into sympathy with them. The techniques used in these films range from those that could be categorized as "verbal" in the traditional sense, to those that are the least verbal (such as body language). My analysis shows that, when the full range of my corpus is considered, representations of first-generation women from the Maghreb in France are far more diverse and often more empowered than has generally been thought on the basis of the relatively narrow range of media and cultural productions that have so far reached mainstream audiences.
Cinema, Minority, France, Maghreb, Immigration, Women, Voice, Postcolonial Studies, Documentary, Short Film, Made-for-Television Film
Date of Defense
April 22, 2011.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Alec G. Hargreaves, Professor Directing Dissertation; Peter Garretson, University Representative; Aimée Boutin, Committee Member; Martin Munro, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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