Maria San Filippo

Assistant ProfessorCommunication and Media Studies

Maria San Filippo is Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Goucher College. Her work examines screen media’s intersections with gender and sexuality, focusing on representations and discourses of feminisms and queerness in contemporary film and television. She is author of The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television (Indiana University Press, 2013), which received a Lambda Literary Award. Since receiving her Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies from UCLA, she has been a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Cinema and Media Studies at Wellesley College and has taught at Harvard University, Indiana University Bloomington, and University of the Arts. Her new book project examines sexual provocation in 21st century screen media. She also writes about 21st century film and film-going on her blog The Itinerant Cinephile (

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Research, Scholarship, Creative Work in Progress

My scholarship is characterized by a drive to question the boundaries of both identity and media. My first book, The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television (Indiana University Press, 2013), analyzes bisexual erotics and subjectivities in screen representations ranging from art cinema and sexploitation film, to queer film, to Hollywood cinema, to television. Demonstrating how bisexual tropes function importantly in screen narration, marketing, and spectatorship, The B Word indicates bisexuality’s importance for queer media theory as a means to “unthink” what I term compulsory monosexuality and compulsory monogamy.

My new book project, Sexual Provocation in 21st Century Screen Media (under contract with Indiana University Press), examines how sexual provocation functions as a potent authorial signature and promotional strategy within the crowded, fragmented contemporary mediascape. Seeking to recover the political force of the provocative, I contemplate how key “provocauteurs” and provocations engage controversy as a persuasive means of challenging representational and ideological norms around sex and sexuality.


“The Politics of Fluidity: Representing Bisexualities in 21st Century Screen Media.” In The Routledge Companion to Media, Sex, and Sexuality, ed. Feona Attwood, R. Danielle Egan, Brian McNair and Clarissa Smith. Routledge, forthcoming 2017.

“Doing Time: Queer Temporalities and Orange Is the New Black.” In A Netflix Reader: Critical Essays on Streaming Media, Digital Delivery, and Instant Access, ed. Myc Wiatrowski and Cory Barker. McFarland, forthcoming 2017.

“Female Trouble: Representing Transwomen in The Danish Girl and The New Girlfriend," Journal of Bisexuality 16.3 (2016): 403-407.

“Art Porn Provocauteurs: Queer Feminist Performances of Embodiment in the Work of Catherine Breillat and Lena Dunham.” Performance and the Body special issue, Velvet Light Trap 77 (Spring 2016): 28-49. Reprinted in Reading Lena Dunham’s Girls: Feminism, Post-Feminism, Authenticity, and Gendered Performance in Contemporary Television, ed. Meredith Nash and Imelda Whelehan. Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming April 2017.

“Sexual Inbetweener/Industry Inbetweener: The Career and Films of Lisa Cholodenko.” In Indie Reframed: Women’s Filmmaking and Contemporary American Independent Cinema, ed. Linda Badley, Claire Perkins, and Michele Schreiber. Edinburgh University Press, 2016. 221-238.

 “Transparent Family Values: Unmasking Sitcom Myths of Gender, Sex(uality), and Money.” In The Sitcom Reader: America Re-viewed, Still Skewed, 2nd edition, ed. Mary M. Dalton and Laura R. Linder. SUNY Press, 2016. 305-318.

“A Tale of Two Suzannes: À nos amours (For Our Loves, 1983) and Suzanne (2013),” Senses of Cinema 77 (December 2015).

“‘Selling Film’ in the summer of 2015: Midnight Sun, Il Cinema Ritrovato, and Karlovy Vary,” NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies (Autumn 2015).

“Before and After AfterEllen: Online Queer Cinephile Communities as Critical Counterpublics.” In Film Criticism in the Digital Age, ed. Mattias Frey and Cecilia Sayad. Rutgers University Press, 2015. 117-136.

“Growing Old Together: Linklater’s Before Trilogy in the Twilight Years of Art House Distribution,” Film Quarterly 68.3 (Spring 2015): 53-59.

“A Room of Its Own: Screening Space and Spectatorial Experience in Yang Fudong’s Fifth Night and Omer Fast’s Continuity,” Art + Film special issue, CineAction 91 (2013): 14-18.

“More Than Buddies: Wedding Crashers and the Bromance as Comedy of (Re)Marriage Equality.” In Millennial Masculinity: Men in Contemporary American Cinema, ed. Timothy Shary. Wayne State University Press, 2013. 181-199. 

“A Cinema of Recession: Micro-budgeting, Micro-drama, and the “Mumblecore” Movement,” Slow Film special issue, CineAction 85 (2011): 2-11.

“Unthinking Heterocentrism: Bisexual Representability in Art Cinema.” In Global Art Cinema, ed. Rosalind Galt and Karl Schoonover. Oxford University Press, 2010. 75-91.

“What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been: Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One,” Film History 13.2 (2001): 216-225.

External Awards, Honors, Grants

Best Essay in an Edited Collection, Society for Cinema and Media Studies, 2016 (awarded to “Before and After AfterEllen: Online Queer Cinephile Communities as Critical Counterpublics”)

Mary Elvira Stevens Traveling Fellowship, Wellesley College, 2014-2015

Certificate of Excellence, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University, 2010- 2013

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Cinema and Media Studies, Wellesley College, 2008-2010

Conference Papers & Panel Participation

“Talking Back to Papa: Feminist Rewritings of ‘The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,’” American Literature Association Conference, 2017

“Good Sex, ‘Bad Feminists,’ and Emergent Women Provocauteurs,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference, 2017

“Queering the Homme Fatal: Re-reading the Erotic Thriller through The New Girlfriend and Stranger by the Lake,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference, 2016

“Captive Viewers: Learning In/humanity through Film in Dogtooth and The Wolfpack,” Screen Conference, University of Glasgow, 2015

“‘Just because I’m a lesbian doesn’t mean I’m evolved’: ‘Post-Queer’ Politics of Representation in LGBTQ Web Series,” Console-ing Passions Conference, 2015

“Looking for the Penis: Representing Gay Male Sex and Nudity in HBO’s Looking,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference, 2015

“Doing Time: Queer Temporalities and Orange Is the New Black, Console-ing Passions Conference, 2014

“Linklater’s Before Trilogy and the Evolution of U.S. Indie Cinema,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference, 2014

“‘Women Contained’: Figuring Feminism in the Films of Todd Haynes” [Respondent], Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference, 2014

Invited Talks

“Queer Spaces & Sexualities in 21st Century Screen Media,” Gender Studies Graduate Association Colloquium, Indiana University Bloomington, 2014

“Counterpublics” plenary panelist, Media in Transition 8 Conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2013

“Before and After AfterEllen: On-line Queer Communities as Critical Counterpublics,” Mediating Public Spheres Symposium, Five College Women’s Studies Research Center, 2013

“Sexual/Digital Revolution: Women Directors, Alternative Relationships, and 21st Century Independent Filmmaking,” New Media in Feminist Scholarship, Teaching, and Activism Colloquium, Five College Women’s Studies Research Center, 2012

“Mumblecore: The Movement that Didn’t Roar,” MassMoCA, 2012

“Bisexual (In)visibility In and Out of Hollywood,” Newhouse Center for the Humanities, Wellesley College, 2009

Academic or Professional Associations

 Society for Cinema and Media Studies 

Other Professional or Scholarly Activity

While a post-graduate instructor at UCLA, I was awarded a grant to design and teach a seminar based on the Outfest Legacy Collection of LGBT film and media, in collaboration with the UCLA Film & Television Archive. This inaugural course, Out of the Closet, Into the Vaults: LGBT Film and the Outfest Collection, led to my continuing involvement with the Outfest organization in Los Angeles, which included organizing public screenings and serving as juror at the Outfest Film Festival.

I was co-organizer of the New Directions in Documentary Film Festival & Symposium, which took place at Wellesley College in 2009 and featured a keynote address by Albert Maysles and post-screening discussions with Natalia Almada, Su Friedrich, Ross McElwee, Susan Meiselas, and Jessica Yu.

Integral to my professional life is my commitment to initiatives and communities that foster women’s education, as demonstrated by my activities as a Research Associate in Feminist Approaches to New Media at the Five Colleges Women’s Studies Research Center in 2012-2013, as an instructor within the Boston-area Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies, and as a member of the planning committee for the Women’s Liberation Conference held at Boston University in spring 2014.

In 2014-2015, with the support of the Stevens Traveling Fellowship from Wellesley College, I conducted a year-long research project, documented on my blog The Itinerant Cinephile and in the journal NECSUS, into 21st century film exhibition, which involved visits to film festivals, art house theaters, and alternative cinema spaces throughout the U.S. and Europe.