Body Politics: Fascism and Sexuality in 1970's Italian Film

Fri, March 13, 2009 | GAR 2.108

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

The talk examines the preoccupation with fascism and sexuality in 1970s Italian cinema from the perspective of its most extreme manifestation, Naziploitation. This much-reviled but little-studied series of films combines elements of horror and porn and, like the art films of Visconti, Cavani, Wertmüller, and Pasolini, focuses on sexuality as the site where the truth about fascism can be finally be spoken. Given the continuous equation of sexual perversion and political perversion in popular culture, taking a closer look at Naziploitation can allow us to explain why, in the indignant words of Michel Foucault, those "shabby, pathetic puritanical characters, laughably Victorian old maids, or at best smutty individuals . . . have become the symbol of eroticism." Or was Don DeLillo right after all when he had one of his characters say: "If it"s Nazis, its automatically erotic??

Sabine Hake is the Texas Chair of German Literature and Culture. She has written several books on German cinema and Weimar culture, most recently Topographies of Class: Modern Architecture an Mass Society in Weimar Berlin, and is currently working on a new project tentatively titled "Political Affects: The Fascist Imaginary in Postfascist Cinema."

Sponsored by: The Center for Women's and Gender Studies

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