Dr Esther Sonnet
Faculty Impact Lead
Underpinned by specialization in critical, cultural and film theory, my principal research and teaching is within the fields of film, media, cultural and fiction studies. I have published on a range of subjects that share a concern for the historical conditions that shape the production, circulation and consumption of cultural texts: historiographical methodology is of central importance to my approach to issues of spectatorship, audience, genre, stardom, narrative, pleasure and politics. Published articles and chapters have addressed questions of feminist epistemologies of film spectatorship, sexual ‘post-feminist’ identities within contemporary women’s magazines, intertexuality, gender and mediated representation, the meaning of the early film roles of Marilyn Monroe for star studies, erotic fiction for women, postmodern cinema and the historical relations between women's fiction and Hollywood film adaptations.
Original primary archival research into 1930s crime film cycles resulted in a co-edited volume Mob Culture: Hidden Histories of the American Gangster Film (Rutgers UP) that includes research into the lost history of female-addressed gangster cycles of Hollywood in the 1930s. I am currently expanding this work into a book-length study based on primary archival research into Hollywood industry production cycles provisionally entitled Marked women: Crime and Desire in American film 1927-39.
The publication of an article 'Why Film Noir? Hollywood adaptation, and women’s writing in the 1940s and 1950s' substantiates my interest in the industrial and commercial aspects of Hollywood production, and outlines my further research into the interconnectivity of film, fiction and screen adaptation in the work of American women pulp/genre/middlebrow writers 1930-58.