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Biography

Clara is based in the Departments of Liberal Arts and Digital Humanities at King’s College London. She holds a BA in Film Studies (2010) and an MRes in Sexuality and Gender Studies (2011) from the University of Exeter, and a PhD in Screen Studies from the University of Manchester (2016). She has taught across the fields of film, media, literature, gender and cultural studies at the Universities of Manchester, Bedfordshire and Westminster and Manchester Metropolitan University. Clara joined King’s in September 2017 to take up the role of Liberal Arts Early Career Development Fellow in Digital Culture.

Research Interests and PhD Supervision

  • Lesbian cinema and media
  • Feminist and queer theory
  • Digital culture
  • Contemporary cinema
  • Feminism in popular culture

Clara’s research interests encompass feminist and queer theories of new media, film and popular culture. Her first monograph, Lesbian Cinema after Queer Theory, was published in March 2019 with Edinburgh University Press. You can read an interview with Clara about the book at the Lambda Literary Review. The book explores how the unprecedented increase in lesbian representation over the past two decades has, paradoxically, coincided with queer theory’s radical transformation of the study of sexuality. In the book, Clara argues that this contradictory context has yielded new kinds of cinematic language through which to give desire visual form. By offering close readings of key contemporary films such as Nathalie (Fontaine, 2003), Water Lilies (Sciamma, 2007), Circumstance (Keshavarz, 2011), Blue Is the Warmest Colour (Kechiche, 2013) and Carol (Haynes, 2015) alongside a broader filmography encompassing over 300 other films released between 1927 and 2018, the book provokes new ways of understanding a changing field of representation. The book resists charting a narrative of representational progress or shoring up the lesbian’s categorisation in the newly available terms of the visible. Instead, it argues for a feminist framework that can understand lesbianism’s queerness. Drawing on a provocative theoretical and visual corpus, Lesbian Cinema after Queer Theory reveals the conditions of lesbian legibility in the twenty-first century.

Clara is also interested in the relationship between new media and feminist politics. In her new work, she takes up an undeveloped strand of her monograph’s examination of contemporary queer visibility: the cultural politics of citation. In order to explore the relationship between cultural production, political investment and social justice, she is investigating imagined networks of activism in contemporary queer and feminist visual cultures, and considering how (and whether) media transformations have generated contemporary models of feminist citation and reinvigorated commitments to a collective political agenda. In the long term, the project will explore feminist cultural production through new modes of online distribution, the relationship between celebrity culture and activist movements, the cultural and political dynamics of social media and mythologies of US dominance in transnational feminisms.

In addition to her academic scholarship, Clara writes criticism on film and popular culture that has appeared in online and print publications such as Sight and Sound and Lambda Literary. Clara is an editor for the open access journal MAI: Feminism and Visual Culture. She is currently editing a special issue of MAI on the topic of Feminist Pedagogies, due to be published at the end of 2019. She also sits on the editorial board of the Screening Sex book series published by Edinburgh University Press. She is on the steering committee of Queer@King’s, and is currently organising the inaugural King’s Queer Theory Lab to be held in 2020. In 2018 she set up a Feminist Research Network for staff in Arts and Humanities at King’s.

For more details and a full list of publications, please see her research profile.

Teaching

Clara teaches in the departments of Liberal Arts and Digital Humanities, offering classes on new media, the history of protest and queer and feminist theories of the body, and has been nominated for a King’s Education Award for Sustained Excellence. Her module Making the Personal Political: Women and Autobiography from Analogue to Digital is available to students across the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

Expertise and Public Engagement

Clara has spoken nationally and internationally on lesbian cinema, gender, sexuality, popular culture and feminist pedagogy; in 2018/19, she attended events in Lüneburg, Seattle, Le Mans, Glasgow and Paris. In August 2018 she was on the jury for the Best Feature Award at the London Feminist Film Festival. Clara has also been interviewed for the radio station Gaydio and BBC Online. She has spoken at events at the BFI, Curzon Soho, Screen 25 (London) and Pout Film Festival, Contact Theatre, the LGBT Foundation, and HOME (Manchester).