Linda Williams
PhD, University of Colorado, Professor in Film & Media and Rhetoric



Film & Media
7329 Dwinelle Hall
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720



Linda Williams teaches courses on popular moving-image genres (pornography, melodrama, and “body genres” of all sorts). She has also recently taught courses on Oscar Micheaux and Spike Lee, Luis Bunuel, eastern and western forms of melodrama, film theory, selected “sex genres,” and /The Wire./ Her books include a psychoanalytic study of Surrealist cinema, /Figures of Desire/ (1981), a co-edited volume of feminist film criticism (/Re-vision/, 1984), an edited volume on film spectatorship, /Viewing Positions/ (1993) and /Reinventing Film Studies/ (co-edited with Christine Gledhill, 2000). In 1989 she published a study of pornographic film entitled /Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the Frenzy of the Visible/ (second edition 1999). This study of moving-image pornography looks seriously at the history and form of an enormously popular genre. In 2001 Williams published /Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White, from Uncle Tom to O.J. Simpson/ (2001, Princeton)–an analysis of racial melodrama spanning the 19th and 20th centuries of American culture. She has also edited a collection of essays on pornography, /Porn Studies/, featuring work by many U.C. Berkeley graduate students (Duke, 2004). Her most recent book is /Screening Sex /(Duke, 2008), a history of the revelation and concealment of sex at the movies.
Selected Publications


Porn Studies (Duke University Press, Forthcoming).

“Playing The Race Card:” Melodramas of Black and White from Uncle Tom to O.J. Simpson (Princeton University Press, 2001).

Re-inventing Film Studies, Co-edited anthology with Christine Gledhill (London: Edward Arnold; New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).

Viewing Positions: Ways of Seeing Film, Edited (Rutgers University Press, 1994).

Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the Frenzy of the Visible (University of California Press, 1989).
–Published in Britain by Pandora Press, 1990.
–In Germany by Stroemfeld/Roter Stern, 1995. –New Edition with new preface and epilogue, U.C. Press, 1999 .

Figures of Desire: A Theory and Analysis of Surrealist Film (University of Illinois Press, 1981). –Reissued in paperback from University of California Press, 1991.
–Chapter Two translated into French for Revue Belge du Cinema (33-35) 1993.

Revision: Essays in Feminist Film Criticism, Co-edited with Mary Ann Doane and Patricia Mellencamp, American Film Institute Monograph Series. (Frederick Maryland: University Publications of America, 1984).
Book Chapters

“Skin Flicks on the Racial Border: Pornography, Exploitation, and Interracial Lust” in Porn Studies (Duke University Press, Forthcoming).

“Discipline and Distraction: “The Care and Handling of Psycho,” in “Culture” and the Problem of the Disciplines, Ed. John Carlos Rowe (Columbia University Press, 1998).

“The Ethics of Documentary Intervention: Dennis O’Rourke’s The Good Woman of Bangkok,” In The Good Woman of Bangkok, Eds, Chris Berry, Laleen Jayamanne and Annette Hamilton (Sydney: Power Institute Press, 1997).
–Reprinted in The Visible Evidence Collection, eds. Jane Gaines and Michael Renov (University of Minnesota Press, 1999).

“Melodrama Revised,” In Refiguring American Film Genres: History and Theory, Ed. Nick Browne (University of California Press, 1998).

“Die visuelle und korperliche Lust der Pornographie” in bewegten Bildern: Ein kurzer historischer Uberblick Eds. Jorg Huber, Alois Martin Muller.(Stroemfeld/Roter Stern. Museum fur Gestaltung Zurich, 1996).

“Corporealized Observers: Visual Pornography and the ‘Carnal Density of Vision.’” In Patrice Petro, ed., Fugitive Images: From Photography to Video. (Indiana University Press, 1995).

“What Do I See, What Do I Want?” Introduction to What She Wants: Women Artists Look at Men, Naomi Saloman, ed. (London: Verso, 1994).

“A Provoking Agent: The Pornography and Performance Art of Annie Sprinkle,” in Dirty Looks: Women, Pornography, Power, Eds. Pam Church Gibson and Roma Gibson (1993) 46-61.
–Reprinted in Social Text 37 (Winter 1993): 117-133;
Provoking Agents, Ed. Judith Gardiner (University of Illinois Press, 1995); and Writing on the Body: Female Embodiment and Feminist Theory, Eds., Sheila Conboy, Nadia Medina, Sarah Stanbury (Columbia University Press, Forthcoming).

“Second Thoughts on Hard Core: American Obscenity Law and the Scapegoating of Deviance,” In Dirty Looks: Women, Pornography, Power. Eds. Pam Church Gibson and Roma Gibson (British Film Institute, 1993) 46-61.

“Pornographies On/Scene, or ‘Diff’rent Strokes for Diff’rent Folks,’” In Sex Exposed: Sexuality and the Pornography Debate, Eds. Lynne Segal and Mary McIntosh (London: Virago, 1992).

“Fetishism and Hard Core: Marx, Freud and the Money Shot,” In For Adult Users Only: The Dilemma of Violent Pornography, Eds. Susan Gubar and Joan Hoff (Indiana University Press, 1989).

“A Jury of Their Peers: Marlene Gorris’ A Question of Silence,” in Postmodernism and its Discontents, Ed. E. Ann Kaplan (London: Verso, 1988).

“Feminist Film Theory, the Female Spectator and Mildred Pierce,” in Cinematic Pleasure and the Female Spectator, Ed. Deidre Pribram (London: Verso, 1988).

“What You Take for Granted.” In New Challenges for Documentary, Ed. Alan Rosenthal (University of California Press, 1988) 566-570.

“The Critical Grasp: Bunuelian Cinema and its Critics.” in Dada and Surrealist Film, Ed. Rudolf Kuenzli (New York: Willis Locker and Owens, 1987) 199-206.

“When the Woman Looks” in Re-Vision: Essays in Feminist Film Criticism, Eds. Doane, Mellencamp and Williams (American Film Institute Monograph Series, l983) 83-99.
–German translation in: Frauen und Film 7. 1990.
–Reprinted in: Film Theory and Criticism. Eds., Marshall Cohen, Gerald Mast, Leo Braudy (Oxford University Press, 1992); The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film, Ed., Barry Keith Grant. (University of Texas Press, 1996).

“Three Figures of Desire,” in Cinema and Language. Eds. Stephen Heath and Patricia Mellencamp. (American Film Institute Monographs Series, 1983) l27-l32.

Selected Journal Articles

“A Symposium on Pornography: Robert Post, Bernard Williams and Linda Williams,” The Threepenny Review 55 (Fall 1993) 8-11.

“Mirrors without Memories: Truth, History and the New Documentary.” Film Quarterly 46:3 (Spring 1993) 9-21.–Translated to German: “Spiegel ohne Gedachnis: Wahrheit, Geschichte und der neue Dokumentarfilm” In Vor der Information Nr 1/2, (1994).

“Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess,” Film Quarterly Vol. 44:4 (Summer 1991) 2-13.
–Reprinted in Film Genre Reader, Ed. Barry Keith Grant (University of Texas Press. 1995).
–in Film Theory and Criticism, Eds. Mast, Cohen and Braudy (Oxford University Press, 1998).
–in Oxford Guide to Film Studies (Oxford University Press, 1998).
–Translated to German: “Filmkorper: Geschlecht un Genre,” translated by Ewa Hess, in Feminismus und Medien, Ed.G.J. Lischka (Bern: Benteli Verlag, 1991) 249-278.

“Power, Pleasure and Perversion: Sadomasochistic Film Pornography,” Representations 27 (Summer 1989) 37-65.

“Fetishism and Hard Core: Marx, Freud and the ‘Money Shot.’” Quarterly Review of Film and Video. Vol. 2:2 (1989) 23-42.
–Reprinted in For Adult Users Only: The Dilemma of Violent Pornography, Eds. Susan Gubar and Joan Hoff-Wilson (Indiana University Press, 1989).

“The Critical Grasp: Bunuelian Cinema and its Critics.” Dada/Surrealism, 15 (1986) 199-206.

“‘Something Else Besides a Mother’: Stella Dallas and the Maternal Melodrama,” Cinema Journal 24 (Fall 1984) 2-27.
–Reprinted in Home is Where the Heart Is: Studies in Melodrama and the Woman’s Film, Ed. Christine Gledhill (British Film Institute, 1987) 299- 325; Issues in Feminist Film Criticism, Ed. Patricia Erens. (Indiana University Press, 1990); Imitations of Life: A Reader on Film and Television Melodrama, Ed. Marcia Landy (Wayne State University Press, 1991); Film Theory and Criticism, Eds. Mast, Cohen and Braudy, (Oxford University Press, 1998).

“Eric Rohmer and the Holy Grail,” Literature/Film Quarterly Vol. 11:2 (1983) 71-82.
–Reprinted in The Grail: A Casebook, ed. Dhira B. Mahoney (New York: Garland, 2000).
“Women in Love: Review of Personal Best,” Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Cinema 27 (July l982) l-l2.
–Reprinted in Films for Women, Ed. Charlotte Brunsdon (British Film Institute Publishing, 1986).