Film Studies

Doctoral Projects in Film Studies

Browse some of the research projects our PhD students are working on below:

Midath Hayder, Bollywood Transnational Stardom

My thesis explores Bollywood film stars in relation to transnational elements, which include masculinity, femininity and race. I have three case studies, one white, one Indian and one mixed race. By analysing their star texts, I hope to discuss the problematic representation of race in popular Indian cinema as well as its intersections with the transnational.

Elisa Padilla-Diaz, Cinema and Biopower: John Waters and the Sexual Politics of Bad Taste

My research project studies the films of American filmmaker John Waters, with a particular focus on the representation of transgressive bodies, the exercise of humour as an expression of critical agency, and the relation between the politics and aesthetics of Bad Taste. Using the work of Michel Foucault, Judith Butler and Mikhail Bakhtin on biopower, discipline, sexuality, gender, performativity, Carnivalesque and the grotesque, I aim to create a theoretical framework that will allow me to Waters' cinema. Exploring cinema as a disciplinary technology that dictates, creates, and produces bodies and sexualities, I want to create an overview of Waters’ cinematic career, putting special emphasis on its countercultural value, its evolution throughout the decades and the mainstreaming process of Waters' late career. 

Adrian Smith, From the Orient With Fury: The Distribution and Exhibition of Popular International Cinema in Britain 1960 - 1970

An archival research-based project on the distribution of international film in the UK during the 1960s, with a focus on three case studies of film distributors: E.J. Fancey, Gala and Compton. The thesis is also looking at the way international film was received in the UK. This is an area of British film history that has previously been relatively neglected in favour of British film production.

Theresa TrimmelWomen in Contemporary US Television Serial Drama: Authorship, Agency, and Representation

My project explores the construction of female authorship in contemporary US quality television. The expression ‘quality television’ refers to TV shows, mostly drama productions, with complex characters and well-elaborated story arcs which develop throughout various episodes and seasons. Until recently, this type of television drama has been primarily associated with male protagonists and male authorship since most of the creators of these shows were men. However, over the recent years female lead characters have become more prominent within quality television productions, and female TV creators and their authorship are now frequently promoted in order to both address the gender imbalance in the industry and attract a female audience.
My thesis examines how popular US television depicts female identity and femininity and how enduring gender binaries are constructed. To do this, I scrutinize and critique the limitations of female representation in a selection of TV series. I seek to contextualize these representations alongside industrial changes, transformations in technology, and new possibilities in audience targeting.