Seeking Additional Chapters — An Indelible Mark: Women and the Work of Todd Haynes

We seek additional chapters for an edited collection of original essays currently in development that explores the specific role of women in, on, and behind the work of Todd Haynes. Female characters and women’s genres from classical Hollywood, as well as feminist film scholars, women directors, film industry professionals, actors, and female fans have all shaped Haynes’s creative work. Our collection represents new research addressing the broadly conceived topic of women and the work of Todd Haynes; we seek to trace the “indelible mark,” as Haynes himself puts it, of feminism throughout his career.

Existing scholarship on this important independent filmmaker tends to focus on queer readings and contexts, in accordance with his prominent role in the New Queer Cinema of the 1990s. Yet Haynes himself has explicitly acknowledged the influences of women on his work, as well as his films’ direct engagement with feminism; his sustained body of work over the last three decades reflects an ongoing intervention in women’s issues and the cinematic representation of gender generally, exemplified in his recent return to the classic woman’s film. We believe that the feminist concerns evident throughout Haynes’s career, from his early work, beginning withSuperstar: The Karen Carpenter Story (1987), to his recent reinvention of the maternal melodrama, Mildred Pierce (2011, seventeen Emmy nominations, five wins) as well as Carol (2015), his forthcoming film adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt (currently in post-production) merit further research and scholarly investigation.

In all his films, Haynes pushes us to question and disrupt fixed notions about aesthetics, affect, sexuality, and, we argue, their constitutive relationship to the construction of femininity. His female characters are often placed in the center of coalitions and conflicts among queer men, people of color, and the wider society in which they are located, yet they always also reflect gender-specific struggles with identity and embodiment. His women, we believe, are unique political actors in their own right, with crucial alliances with other marginalized subjects. The book features chapters analyzing each of his films, but we are also interested in chapters on influential women in Haynes’s life, education, and work.


Although we already have most of the single-film chapters, we would welcome individual chapters on:

  • Assassins: A Film Concerning Rimbaud (1985)
  • I’m Not There (2007)
  • Mildred Pierce (miniseries, HBO, 2011)
  • Enlightened (1 episode, HBO, 2013)
  • DVD commentaries on his own films as well as Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Criterion), Le Plaisir (Criterion), The Reckless Moment (Second Sight)
  • Shorts, such as his work on Six by Sondheim: “I’m Still Here” (Follies)
  • Music video work, such as his collaborations with Sonic Youth

We also seek chapters that consider more than one of his films and focus on:

  • Haynes’s work as feminist theory (as opposed to the majority of work on his films as queer theory); intertextual citations of feminist theory/theorists and broader connections between concepts of feminist theory and Haynes’s work; feminist aesthetics in his films; French feminism and Haynes; Italian feminism and Haynes; women and AIDS activism and representation
  • Haynes’s relationship with HBO and the gendered implications of his television work
  • the intersections of race and gender; how his films figure within whiteness studies, critical race theory, and other analyses of racial and national formation
  • specific feminist issues in the films: fame, work, female sexuality, motherhood, fashion, gender performance, feminine desire, écriture féminine, feminist ethics/ materialities/ phenomenology as motifs in Haynes’s work, women’s affective labor in / on Haynes, etc.
  • Haynes’s female characters and their intertextual links: Max Ophuls, Douglas Sirk, R.W. Fassbinder; gender and intertexual citation in terms of visual and aural codes and conventions
  • intertextuality within feminist and women filmmakers: Su Friedrich, Laura Mulvey, Yvonne Rainer, Ida Lupino, Dorothy Arzner, Maya Deren, Barbara Hammer, et al.
  • Haynes’s role as collaborator, mentor, or producer with women in the film industry: Cynthia Schneider, Christine Vachon, Kelly Reichardt, Brooke Dammkoehler, Cindy Sherman (Office Killer); actresses as feminist collaborators


Please submit completed chapters of 6500-8000 words with a short bio to both editors by December 1, 2014: Julia Leyda <> and Terri Geller <>. Preliminary topic inquiries are welcome.


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