'Pink Slipped' by Professor Jane M. Gaines Named 'Choice' Outstanding Academic Title for 2018

April 28, 2019

Pink Slipped, by Professor Jane M. Gaines was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2018.

In the book, using individual careers as a point of departure, Gaines shows how women held more positions of power in the silent film era than at any other time in American motion picture history, and then charts how these women first fell out of the limelight and then out of the film history itself. A more perplexing event cemented their obscurity: the failure of 1970s feminist historiography to rediscover them. Gaines examines how it happened against a backdrop of feminist theory and her own meditation on the limits that historiography imposes on scholars. Pondering how silent-era women have become absent in the abstract while present in reality, Gaines sees a need for a theory of these artists' pasts that relates their aspirations to those of contemporary women.

In a review by Chelsea Phillips-Carr in Pop Matter, she states, “Starting with feminist film research of the '70s, which sought out women in film history, Gaines questions bias and motive. The result is succinct and illuminating.” While Choice said, "Gaines's study is of crucial importance to feminist film critics and historians, and its meditations on history and politics are relevant to many contemporary fields of study. Essential."

Author Tom Gunning wrote, “Jane Gaines has been our great pioneer of feminist film history, blazing a trail into the neglected terrain of women filmmakers, particularly during the silent era. In this complex new work she traces a path into controversial areas of the theory of history and the goals of feminist film studies. This is a book that questions assumptions and will agitate our field.”

Jane M. Gaines is a professor of film at Columbia University. She is the award-winning author of Contested Culture: The Image, the Voice, and the Law and Fire and Desire: Mixed Race Movies in the Silent Era.