Gender and Sexuality Studies Series This fall, the School of Arts and Sciences is holding a wide assortment of classes in gender and sexuality studies, which bring new perspectives to history, literature, politics and the social sciences. Established scholars at Hopkins, as well as graduate students and visiting faculty, are adding to the mix of ideas. This is the first of three articles examining some of the ongoing work at the university. Visiting Professor Examines Gay Theory in Film By Sujata Massey Englishman Paul Julian Smith says the American film industry has a long way to go. "It's difficult for Hollywood to address women in films. You've got Thelma and Louise, but they died," said the visiting professor in the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies. Films about relationships between women are all too rare, said Dr. Smith. Especially when it comes to still-taboo topics such as lesbianism. When the novel Fried Green Tomatoes reached the big screen, the female characters' love relationship was erased. Dr. Smith's area of scholarship is Spain, where filmmaking is far less inhibited. He is at Hopkins through the end of September teaching a graduate mini-seminar on the poet-playwright GarcĄa Lorca who was prom-inent in 1920s and 1930s Spain. Smith, 37, became department head of Spanish and Portuguese at Cambridge three years ago. He has become celebrated for his application of lesbian and gay theory to Spanish literature and cinema. "Whatever one's opinion, everyone is interested in homosexuality," Dr. Smith said. "There has been a series of issues raised in the humanities, starting with feminism, then race and, now, homosexuality....You don't have to have a personal involvement to get something out of it, especially if you are an English speaker working in a foreign language." The professor has written seven books and co-edited two others dealing with questions of race, gender and sexuality in Spanish literature and film, including Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro AlmodĒvar, in 1992. He will present a talk at 4 p.m. Thursday in 223 Gilman that will contrast AlmodĒvar's Dark Habits, about lesbian nuns, with The House of Bernarda Alba, a Lorca play that tells the story of a matriarch's struggle with desire. "I'm mixing a great classic with the enfant terrible of cinema," said Dr. Smith. "Both of them are about communities of women, and that's what interests me." The talk will be conducted in English, and accompanied by film clips. Admission to the lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, call Hispanic and Italian Studies, at 516-7226.
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