Talks & presentations

(since the approval of the application by the German Research Foundation in October 2022)

  • Film – Fan – Feeling. (De-)Eroticizing the Star in Silent Film Fandom: Lübeck, Lübeck Film Studies Colloquium, 5.11.2022 
    (Alice Alessandra Salamena, Stephan Michael Schröder)

Abstract:
In the media of the 1910s, the film fan became quickly transformed into an object of ridicule: a young uncritical female prone to go out of her way to participate in the world of the stars even if it was only by drooling over pictures of her admired celebrities. Fan mail collections, however, allow for a much more differentiated picture of the fan. The fans constructed eroticized images of the celebrities they were writing to, even secretly enacting in their texts gender identities that were deemed deviant and immoral. Paradoxically at first sight, this is paralleled by an increasing tendency to reduce communication with stars to simple requests for autographs, turning the star from an object of subjective desire into a commodified collectable. By highlighting different ways in which fans addressed celebrities in fan mail, the presentation discerned strategies fans employed to eroticize or de-eroticize Danish stars, as well as act out their own gender identities in the secret safe space of the fan letter.

  • Film – Fan – Feeling. (De-)Eroticizing the Star in Silent Film Fandom: Copenhagen, Silent Film Fandom and Celebrity Culture, Digital Methods for New Historiographies, 20.1.2023
    (Alice Alessandra Salamena)
  • Film – Fan – Feeling. Die (De-)Erotisierung des Stars im Fantum der Stummfilmzeit: Munich, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, 25.1.2023
    (Alice Alessandra Salamena, Stephan Michael Schröder)
  • Fan mail to Danish film stars in the 1910s. Präsentation des DFG-Projektes: Universität Bonn, Tag der Forschung, 6.5.2023
    (Stephan Michael Schröder)
  • Verehrer und Bewunderer – aber keine Fans im Theater? Universität Bonn, Tag der Forschung, 6.5.2023
    (Alice Alessandra Salamena)
  • Manners make a ›Backfisch‹. Performing Female Adolescence in Silent Cinema: Lübeck, Lübeck Film Studies Colloquium, 3.11.2023
    (Alice Alessandra Salamena, Stephan Michael Schröder)

Abstract:
By the end of the 19th century, adolescence emerged as a new life phase in its own right between childhood and adulthood. The cinema became a discursive field for constituting and negotiating this phase, as youth (as well as gender, race and class issues) was at the heart of the discussions about the perils of the new media. Especially the ›Backfisch‹ (a German term for an adolescent girl, even used in Scandinavia and the USA) was eyed suspiciously by the cultural elite: The ›Back­fisch' stood for a dangerous mix of naïvety and scheming, potentially threatening sexual norms by adapting male-coded behaviour in her performance of adolescence. In our presentation we explore Danish and German cinematic negotiations of the ›Backfisch‹ as stereotypical form of female adolescence highly informed by the emerging discourse on youth around 1900.

  • Fan Mail to Danish Film Stars in the 1910s: Cologne International Forum: Salon, 6.12.2023
    (Alice Alessandra Salamena/Stephan Michael Schröder)
  • Fan Mail to Danish Film Stars in the 1910s: Danish Film Institute, Copenhagen, 25.1.2024
    (Alice Alessandra Salamena/Stephan Michael Schröder)
    (Picture: © Veronika Foss)
Fanbrief 3

(DFI, Olaf Fønss collection, no. 320)