hybrid dissertation

My hybrid dissertation (UNEXPECTED JOURNEYS: AT THE INTERSECTION OF COLLABORATIVE FILMMAKING AND FEMINIST SCHOLARSHIP) combines collaborative, creative filmmaking and feminist scholarship grounded in German studies. It is made up of two parts: The written treatment addresses fundamental issues in feminist filmmaking–body, voice, and collaboration–and is in part conceived as a complement to the travel documentary Wanderlust, cuerpos en tránsito (2017), a bi-autobiographical account of a journey from Egypt to Germany. Taken together, the two ask the question: how can we reframe the woman traveler?

The documentary

Wanderlust, cuerpos en transito
Wanderlust, cuerpos en transito

Wanderlust, cuerpos en tránsito (2017), is a bi-autobiographical account of a journey from Egypt to Germany, which I co- directed and produced with Maria Pérez Escala. Between May and July of 2014, Maria and I embarked on a journey between Egypt and Germany to document our travel experiences as women. The resulting film records our travels across three continents–Africa, Asia and Europe– taking trains, boats and buses through 14 different countries. Wanderlust has played at a number of international filmfestivals, for more information on the film please see Wanderlustlapelicula.com

A selection of film festivals at which Wanderlust has played.
A selection of film festivals at which Wanderlust has played.

The written treatment

The written treatment addresses the filmic core concerns in a format that is in turn theoretical and historical, analytical and reflective.

Chapter One focuses on Cinematography and the Body and explores embodied, intersubjective and haptic strategies to depict women’s bodies. Chapter Two focuses on Narration and Voice and makes an argument for constructing embodied voices and expressions of relationality. Chapter Three demonstrates the potential of Collaboration, Friendship and Sisterhood in women’s (bi-) autobiographical travel accounts.

These elements have taken center stage throughout the pre-production, production and post-production of making Wanderlust and are explored within each chapter in a three-dimensional way. The first dimension is a theoretical-historical engagement with literature from feminist film studies, autobiographical scholarship, postcolonial theories of representation and German film history. The second dimension involves analysis of (primarily German) feminist films that grapple with questions of how to depict the female body and/or express female subjectivity through the filmic medium. The third dimension connects these first two with the film Wanderlust through an in-depth analysis and reflection of selected scenes.

In the epilogue, the wider cultural and political context of voluntary leisure travel is contrasted with other, less privileged forms of human mobility, such as migration and refugeeism, making an argument for reimagining touristic discourses in order to open up spaces for (narrative) encounters with these realities.

How to ‘read’ this dissertation

As an experiment in crossing cultures, borders, disciplines, and languages this dissertation presents practical examples of and theoretical insight into cross-cultural collaboration and autobiographical documentary filmmaking. If you want to get access to the written treatment and selected film scenes, please get in touch.