Annette Kuhn

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Annette Kuhn
Born (1945-09-29) 29 September 1945 (age 72)
Alma mater University of Sheffield,
University of London

Annette Frieda Kuhn, FBA (born 29 September 1945) is a British author, historian, educator, researcher, editor and feminist. She is known for her work in screen studies, visual culture, film history and cultural memory. Since 2006, she is an Emeritus Professor of Film Studies from Queen Mary University of London.[1]


Kuhn earned a bachelor's degree in 1969 and master's degree in 1975 in Sociology at the University of Sheffield. While at Sheffield, she served as the Research Officer at the Sheffield Students' Union, during which period she worked on a campaign for a University crèche. Kuhn also co-convened the Sheffield University Women's Studies Group, organising public seminars and film screenings.

She co-edited Feminism and Materialism (1978) with AnnMarie Wolpe, was part of the founding editorial collective of Feminist Review (1979- ) and was a member of the women’s photography group Second Sight.[2]

In the mid-1970s, Kuhn began writing, teaching and publishing in film studies, often from a feminist standpoint. Her books included Women's Pictures: Feminism and Cinema (1982, rev. ed. 1994), The Power of the Image: Essays on Representation and Sexuality (1985) and The Women's Companion to International Film (1990). She taught classes in adult and higher education in both the UK and the USA.[3]

Kuhn served on the editorial board of the journal Screen from 1976 to 1985 and rejoined the journal as a co-editor on its move to Oxford University Press in 1989, standing down in 2014. In 1986 she completed a PhD on the history of film censorship at the University of London. From 1984 to the early 1990s she was a commissioning editor for 'Questions for Feminism', a series of socialist-feminist books published by Verso, and in the late 1980s worked as desk editor in Verso’s editorial office in London. Some documents from the early phase of Kuhn’s career are lodged in the Women’s Library at the London School of Economics.[4]


As Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths College (1974–76), Kuhn taught classes on women and the family and the sexual division of labour.

In 1989 Kuhn joined the University of Glasgow as a Lecturer in Film and Television and was promoted to Reader in Film and Television Studies in 1991. She moved to Lancaster University in 1998 as Reader in Cultural Research and was promoted to Professor of Film Studies in 2000. In 2006, Kuhn moved to Queen Mary University of London since 2006 and is now Emeritus Professor of Film Studies.[1] Since 2002 she has served on the Advisory Board of the Raphael Samuel History Centre (University of East London/Birkbeck University of London) and on the Education and Culture Committee of Phoenix Cinema (Finchley, London) since 2009.

Kuhn has held visiting professorships at the University of Iowa, the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Masaryk University and Stockholm University; and Fellowships at the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University, Macquarie University, and the Five Colleges Women’s Studies Research Center at Mount Holyoke College. Kuhn has delivered keynote lectures, invited talks and workshops also in Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, South Africa, Spain and Switzerland. Her writings have been translated into at least ten languages.

Notable works[edit]

Since the early 1990s, Kuhn has researched, and written widely on, cinemagoing and memory, in work arising from a large-scale project called 'Cinema Culture in 1930s Britain' which she directed and which involved gathering a considerable body of questionnaire and depth-interview material from several hundred surviving cinemagoers of the 1930s. The project's findings have been discussed in a number of radio programmes,[5][6][7][8] as well as in books (in particular An Everyday Magic: Cinema and Cultural Memory), articles, chapters and conference papers; and it has become a significant reference point for current research and community activity around cinema memory and histories of film reception. Most of the materials gathered in the course of the 1930s project are now part of Lancaster University Library’s Special Collections, and are available there for consultation by other researchers.[9]

Concurrently, Kuhn has inquired into photography and cultural memory, with a particular interest in the uses of and meanings attaching to family photographs, conducting research and workshops, giving talks and producing writings on the subject. Her book Family Secrets is widely cited and continues to be drawn on by writers and artists, especially feminists, conducting autoethnographic work with personal photographs, as well as by readers inspired to conduct memory work with their own family albums.[10][11][12]

The Oxford Dictionary of Film Studies (2012), which Kuhn co-authored with her former Queen Mary University of London colleague Guy Westwell, was several years in the making. It is grounded in a systematic overview of the discipline, both historically and as it is currently taught and researched, with the aim of producing an inclusive map of the field that would eventually generate the topics addressed in the dictionary, permit assessment of each headword and entry in light of its place in the discipline’s overall architecture, supply a picture of the interconnections between various areas of inquiry, and generate a framework for cross-references that would allow users to follow personal paths through the dictionary and make their own discoveries about the discipline. In both its print and online versions, the Dictionary is widely used in screen studies teaching at all levels, as well as by film critics and film-lovers.[13][14][15]


In 1994, Kuhn was awarded a Fulbright Senior Research Scholarship to study six months at Mount Holyoke College in the Five College Women’s Studies program in order to complete work on the Family Secrets project, research for "The Daughter’s Lament: Memory Work and Productions of the Self".[16]

In 2004, she was elected to the Fellowship of the British Academy, and in 2016 to Membership of the European Academy (Academia Europaea).[17][18]

The Annette Kuhn Essay Award was established by Screen in 2014, in recognition of Kuhn’s outstanding contribution to Screen and her wider commitment to the development of screen studies and screen theory.[19]

Selected works[edit]

  • Feminism and Materialism: Women and Modes of Production. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978. Co-edited.
  • Ideology and Cultural Production. London: Croom Helm, 1979. Co-edited.
  • Women's Pictures: Feminism and Cinema. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1982; 2nd edn, Verso, 1994. Authored.
  • The Power of the Image: Essays on Representation and Sexuality. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985. Authored.
  • Cinema, Censorship and Sexuality, 1909 to 1925. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988. Authored.
  • Alien Zone: Cultural Theory and Contemporary Science Fiction Cinema. London: Verso, 1990. Edited.
  • The Women's Companion to International Film. London: Virago; and Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1990. Edited.
  • Family Secrets: Acts of Memory and Imagination. London: Verso, 1995; rev edn, 2002. Authored.
  • Queen of the Bs: Ida Lupino Behind the Camera. Bradford-on-Avon: Flicks Books; New York: Praeger, 1995. Edited.
  • Screen Histories: A Screen Reader. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1998. Co-edited.
  • Alien Zone II: The Spaces of Science Fiction Cinema. London: Verso, 1999. Edited.
  • An Everyday Magic: Cinema and Cultural Memory. London: I.B. Tauris, 2002. Published in the USA as Dreaming of Fred and Ginger: Cinema and Cultural Memory. New York: New York University Press. Authored.
  • Screening World Cinema: a Screen Reader. London: Routledge, 2006. Co-edited.
  • Locating Memory: Photographic Acts. Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books, 2006. Co-edited.
  • Ratcatcher. London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008. Authored.
  • Screen Theorizing Today: A Celebration of Screen’s Fiftieth Anniversary. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Edited.
  • The Oxford Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press, 2012. Co-authored.[20]
  • Little Madnesses: Winnicott, Transitional Phenomena and Cultural Experience. London: I.B. Tauris, 2013. Edited.[21]


  1. ^ a b "Annette Kuhn". Queen Mary, University of London. Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  2. ^ The other group members were Frances Borzello, Jill Pack and Cassandra Wedd; see Kuhn, The The Power of the Image: Essays on Representation and Sexuality, pg 9-10.
  3. ^ Humm, Maggie (1997). "Annette Kuhn and materialist criticism". Feminism and Film (1st ed.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 26–28. ISBN 978-0-7486-0900-0. 
  4. ^ "7ANK - Papers of Annette Kuhn". Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  5. ^ "Radio 4 - Woman's Hour -Cinema in the Thirties". BBC. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  6. ^ "BBC Radio 4 Extra - Where Were You When Bambi's Mother Was Shot?". 2017-03-29. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  7. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Archive on 4, Going to the Flicks, Episode 1". 2015-01-11. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-12-22. Retrieved 2016-12-21. 
  9. ^ "Cinema and culture | Library | Lancaster University". 2014-01-31. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  10. ^ Trev Broughton (1998). "Review: Family Secrets: Acts of Memory and Imagination by Annette Kuhn" (PDF). Feminist Review. 60: 135–137. 
  11. ^ tay (2005-07-27). "VirtualDayz: Annette Kuhn and Memory Work: Reflections on "Family Secrets"". Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  12. ^ "Family Ties: Reframing Memory Various Artists, Peltz Gallery, London". Aesthetica Magazine. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  13. ^ Christopher Hirst. "Oxford Dictionary of Film Studies By Annette Kuhn & Guy Westwell". The Independent. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  14. ^ "Project MUSE - Oxford Dictionary of Film Studies by Annette Kuhn & Guy Westwell (review)". 2015-08-20. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  15. ^ Annette Kuhn; Guy Westwell. A Dictionary of Film Studies (Oxford Quick Reference). ISBN 9780199587261. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  16. ^ Fulbright Scholars Program, 1994-95 Directory (PDF). Washington DC: Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program. 1994. p. 33. 
  17. ^ "Professor Annette Kuhn | British Academy". 2015-04-09. Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  18. ^ "Academy of Europe: Kuhn Annette". Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  19. ^ "University of Glasgow - Services A-Z - Screen - Essay Award". Retrieved 2017-06-23. 
  20. ^ "A Dictionary of Film Studies - Annette Kuhn; Guy Westwell - Oxford University Press". Retrieved 10 September 2016. 
  21. ^ "Little Madnesses: Winnicott, Transitional Phenomena & Cultural Experience". Retrieved 10 September 2016. 

External links[edit]