Mary Ann Doane

Mary Ann DoaneE-mail address:
Home institution:
 University of California, Berkeley;
Department of Film & Media
Academic position:
Professor of Film and Media 
Areas of research:  
film theory, feminist theory, and semiotics
Title of the presentation: Cinematic Scale, Perspective
and the Modern Sublime

Most important Publications


    • The Emergence of Cinematic Time: Modernity, Contingency, the Archive. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002.
    • Femmes Fatales: Feminism, Film Theory, Psychoanalysis. New York: Routledge, 1991.
    • The Desire to Desire: The Woman?s Film of the 1940s. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987. Also published in London by the Macmillan Press Ltd., 1988, in the series ?Language, Discourse, Society? (General Editors: Stephen Heath, Colin MacCabe, Denise Riley).

Edited volumes:

    • Editor, differences 18:1 (Spring 2007), Special Issue: ?Indexicality: Trace and Sign.?
    • Co-editor, Re-vision: Essays in Feminist Film Criticism. Frederick, MD: University Publications of America and The American Film Institute, 1984.
    • Co-editor, Camera Obscura 20-21 (May-September 1989), Special Issue: ?The Spectatrix.?

Selected Journal Articles

  • Imaging Contingency: An Interview with Mary Ann Doane, parallax, no. 45, October-December 2007.?Aesthetics and Politics,? Film Feminisms, special issue of Signs, vol. 30, no. 1 (Autumn 2004) ed. Vivian Sobchak and Kathleen McHugh.
  • Pathos and Pathology: The Cinema of Todd Haynes, Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies, no. 57 (2004), pp. 1-22.
  • The Close-up: Scale and Detail in the Cinema, differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, vol. 14, no. 3 (Fall 2003).
  • Technology and Sexual Difference: Apocalyptic Scenarios at Two ?Fins-de-si?cle?, differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, vol. 9, no. 2 (1997): 1-24.
  • Temporality, Storage, Legibility: Freud, Marey and the Cinema, Critical Inquiry, vol. 22, no. 2 (Winter 1996).
  • Technology?s Body: Cinematic Vision in Modernity, differences, vol. 5, no. 2 (Summer 1993): 1-23.
  • Melodrama, Temporality, Recognition: American and Russian Silent Cinema, East-West Film Journal 4.2 (June 1990).
  • Masquerade Reconsidered: Further Thoughts on the Female Spectator, Discourse 11.1 (Fall-Winter 1988-89): 42-54.
  • The Abstraction of a Lady: La Signora di Tutti, Cinema Journal 28.1 (Fall 1988): 65-84.
  • The Retreat of Signs and the Failure of Words: Leslie Thornton?s Adynata, Millenium Film Journal 16/17/18 (Fall/Winter 1986-87): 151-157.
  • The Economy of Desire: Commodity Tie-Ins, Quarterly Review of Film and Video 11.1 (May 1989): 23-33.
  • Remembering Women: Psychical and Historical Constructions in Film Theory, Continuum, vol. 1.2 (1988): 3-14.
  • The Clinical Eye: Medical Discourses in the ?Woman?s Film? of the 1940s, Poetics Today, Special Issue: ?The Female Body in Western Culture: Semiotic Perspectives,? ed. Susan Rubin Suleiman, 6.1-2 (1985): 205-227.
  • ‘?When the Direction of the Force Acting on the Body is Changed:’ The Moving Image, Wide Angle, vol. 7.1-2 (Spring 1985): 42-57.
  • Film and the Masquerade: Theorising the Female Spectator, Screen 23.3-4 (September/October 1982): 74-87.
  • Gilda: Striptease as Epistemology, Camera Obscura 11 (Fall 1983): 7-27.
  • Caught and Rebecca: The Inscription of Femininity as Absence, Enclitic 5.2/6.1 (Fall/Spring 1982) 75-89.
  • Woman?s Stake: Filming the Female Body, October 17 (Summer 1981): 23-36.
  • The Voice in the Cinema: The Articulation of Body and Space, Yale French Studies 60 (Fall 1980): 33-50.
  • Misrecognition and Identity: The Concept of Identification in Film Theory, Cine-Tracts: A Journal of Film and Cultural Studies 3.3 (Fall 1980): 25-32.
  • Desire in Sunrise, Film Reader 2 (January 1977): 71-77.

Title of the presentation

Cinematic Scale, Perspective and the Modern Sublime


The philosophical/aesthetic concept of the sublime has historically been associated with notions of boundlessness, awe, terror and infinity, linking subjectivity and affect to concepts of spatial dimension. The figuring of the cinema as ?bigger than life? connected it to an aesthetics of magnitude as well as concepts of ineffability and unspeakability. The question of scale has become more urgent with the striking proliferation of screen sizes in the contemporary media landscape. The paradox of IMAX, for instance, is that its development and expansion in theaters coincided with the accelerating minimization of screen size culminating in handheld mobile devices such as the iPhone. This paper is an analysis of the concept of scale in cinema/media and its relation to perspective and the structuring of space in modernity.

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