Film and Intermediality

Edinburgh Film Seminar: Alison Peirse

In brief

Guest - Dr Alison Peirse (University of Leeds)

Host - Dr Pasquale Iannone (University of Edinburgh)

Title - Toward a Feminist Historiography of Horror Cinema

Series - Edinburgh Film Seminars

Register for the event on Eventbrite


by Alison Peirse

In this paper, I will explore the career of little­–known 1980s horror filmmaker Jackie Kong, as a way of critically revisiting our histories of horror cinema.

My inspiration for this work is Jennifer M. Bean’s essay, ‘Toward a feminist historiography of early cinema’. For Bean, the discovery of women filmmakers is ‘inexorably bound to a series of questions concerning the production of historical and disciplinary knowledge’. She asks, ‘how can we assert the presence of female film pioneers without simply amalgamating a revised set of... remarkable “firsts”, of isolated, explanatory contributions?’ (2002: 2).

Bean’s question has much to offer not only those interested in the work of Kong, but for scholars of horror cinema, and women’s film history in general. I will ask, how do we create knowledge about our chosen period of study, and how might we do this in terms of the multifaceted identity and historical context of our chosen filmmakers?

For example, in a Morbidly Beautiful interview, Kong revealed that in the 1980s, she faced ‘every possible obstacle, since I was a young woman of colour in a white, male–dominated field… They became confused by the gender and race issues I presented’ (Darko 2018).

Bean suggests we have to find a way to move beyond a gender paradigm that ‘has never been comprehensive enough, never able to account for the production of whiteness or blackness – indeed of race of any kind – much less ethnicity, nationality, and the distinctions of class’ (2002: 2).

How might we bring this pertinent critique to bear on the work that we do, both in horror cinema, and in women’s film history?

About the speaker

Dr Alison Peirse is an Associate Professor in the School of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds.

Her latest book, 'Women Make Horror: Filmmaking, Feminism, Genre' (Rutgers UP, 2020) has been nominated for, and won, multiple awards around the globe.

About the series

Edinburgh Film Seminars is hosted by Film Studies at the University of Edinburgh and brings together world-leading academics within the field to discuss their research.

How to join

Events are free and everyone is welcome. 

In the interests of audience and speaker wellbeing during Covid-19, and in line with our sustainability objectives, they will be held online using Zoom.

Registration is required so that you can be sent joining instructions and links in advance.


Mar 09 2022 -

Edinburgh Film Seminar: Alison Peirse

Join us on Zoom for a free seminar by Dr Alison Peirse (University of Leeds) on 1980s horror filmmaker Jackie Kong, as a way of critically revisiting our histories of horror cinema and working towards a feminist historiography.

Online on Zoom