Linda Williams (film scholar)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Linda Williams (born 1946) is a professor of film studies in the departments of Film Studies and Rhetoric at University of California, Berkeley. Linda Williams has carried out academic studies on pornography, starting with the acclaimed Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the “Frenzy of the Visible” (1989).

Academic study of pornography

Linda Williams is drawn to film genres that some might characterize as lowbrow — among them melodrama and pornography, genres which she calls body genres. She has been regarded as something of an authority on the latter subject since 1989, when she published Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the “Frenzy of the Visible”, a book that details and analyzes the history and forms of moving-image pornography and Porn Studies (2004). She has also made appearances in three documentary films: Pornography: A Secret History of Civilisation (1999), Inside Deep Throat (2005) and American Stag (2006). She coined the term body genre.


As author

  • Figures of Desire: A Theory and Analysis of Surrealist Film, University of Illinois Press, 1981. Paperback edition: University of California Press, 1992, ISBN 0520078969
  • Hard Core: Power, Pleasure and the Frenzy of the Visible (University of California Press, 1989). Expanded Paperback Edition: Univ of California Press, 1999, ISBN 0520219430
  • Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black & White from Uncle Tom to O.J.Simpson, Princeton University Press, Paperback edition, 2002, ISBN 069110283X
  • Screening Sex, Duke University Press (2008)

As editor

  • Viewing Positions: Ways of Seeing Film, Rutgers University Press, 1999,ISBN 0813521335
  • (with Christine Gledhill), Reinventing Film Studies, Hodder Arnold, 2000, ISBN 0340677236
  • Porn Studies, Duke University Press, 2004, ISBN 0822333120

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