Professor of English Literature & Cultural Studies
Her research and teaching interests include 19th- and 20th-century British literature and culture, feminist theory, women's social history, film studies and early film history, and mass culture.
Her articles include "The Failures of the Romance" (Modern Fiction Studies, March 2001), "'Indecent Incentives to Vice': Regulating Films and Audience Behavior from the 1890s to the 1910s," in Andrew Higson, ed. Young and Innocent? Cinema and Britain, 1896-1930 (University of Exeter Press, 2002), and "'Feminists Love a Utopia': Collaboration, Conflict, and the Futures of Feminism," in Stacy Gillis, Gillian Howie, and Rebecca Munford, eds. Third Wave Feminism: A Critical Exploration (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). She has also contributed to Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture.
Lise is co-editor (with Amy Binagman and Rebecca Zorach) of Embodied Utopias: Gender, Social Change, and the Modern Metropolis (Routledge, 2002), and author of Consuming Fantasies: Labor, Leisure, and the London Shopgirl, 1880-1920 (Ohio State University Press, 2006).
She is at present working on two projects: a biography of a family of Victorian feminists, and a study of sex, class, and modernity in 1920s England.
How did Victorians conceive of the body? In a culture associated in the popular imagination with modesty and propriety, even prudishness, discussions of sexuality and physicality flourished. This course explores both fictional and non-fictional texts from nineteenth-century Britain in conjunction with modern scientific and critical perspectives. We will discuss debates over corsetry and tight-lacing, dress reform, prostitution, and the Contagious Diseases Acts, sexology, hysteria, and other topics relating to science and the body, alongside novels, poetry, and prose by major Victorian writers. The writings of Freud, Foucault, and other theorists, as well as writings in the natural and biological sciences, will assist us in contextualizing nineteenth-century discourses of gender, sexuality, race, and embodiment. Several shorter papers and a longer research project will be required.
This course is designed to introduce students to key issues in film studies, focusing on cinema in the United States from the silent era to the present. We will pay particular attention to discourses of racial identity, gender difference, and sexuality on screen, reading early, classical, and recent films in the context of contemporary conversations about politics, equity, and social justice. The course will highlight the history of filmmaking by women and people of color (including Dorothy Arzner, Julie Dash, Maya Deren, Sessue Hayakawa, Oscar Micheaux, Jordan Peele, and Lois Weber, among others) in an effort to critique and expand the film studies canon. Several short papers and in-class discussions will address how to interpret film on the formal/stylistic level (sequence analysis, close reading, visual language) as well as in the context of major trends and figures in film history.
Gothic fictions are known for their ability to send shivers down the spine, evoking sensations of discomfort, fear, and horror. This interdisciplinary course will explore the genre of the Gothic from its roots in the late eighteenth century through the present, moving among literature, film, television, and digital media forms. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein will be a key text as we commemorate the novel's 200th anniversary; we will explore intermedial texts like Dracula and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; and the course will end with twenty-first century incarnations of the Gothic (True Blood, Penny Dreadful, and Stranger Things). Throughout, we will discuss the tangled relationship between sexuality, race, and power that characterizes the genre. Students will have the opportunity to develop a creative project in the course, whether a piece of short fiction or a visual/digital exploration of Gothic themes.
In her seminal essay "Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess," Linda Williams observed, "The repetitive formulas and spectacles of film genres are often defined by their differences from the classical realist style of narrative cinema." In this course, we will use the relationship between gender and genre as a lens through which to view these differences in American and global cinema of the 1950s and 1960s as we trace the evolution of film theory since the 1970s. Readings will draw on foundational texts in psychoanalysis, feminist and queer theory, postcolonial theory, and other trends in film criticism, accompanied by weekly screenings. This course is designed to meet the needs of students pursuing Division II concentrations in film and media studies and related fields, and will meet the film theory requirement for the Five College Major in Film Studies.