MISKATONIC: WITCHES, SLUTS, FEMINISTS - Sky Room Talk with Author Kristen J. Sollee

Presented by The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies
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Sky Room Cafe Tue, Sep 17, 2019 7:30 PM


The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies Presents:

Sky Room Talk with Author Kristen J. Sollee


Thursday, September 17 at 7:30pm

Members $12 / Public $17

The Sky Room Cafe will be closing at 5 PM the evening of this event.

In art, literature, and film, the witch is a shapeshifter. She is a gruesome villain and a studious heroine, a spiritual guide and an enchanting seductress. The witch’s narrative can shift effortlessly, transforming her from vixen to hag and healer to hellion based solely upon who decides to tell her tale. But despite these disparate depictions, the witch’s presence is inextricably tied to patriarchal anxieties about powerful women and unruly female bodies: her representation always reflects or refutes societal perceptions about femininity. In this illustrated talk, New School faculty member and author of Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive Kristen J. Sollée will trace the witch in visual media from the early modern era through the present, examining her legacy as an icon of female power and persecution, and as a potent feminist symbol.

Beginning with the 1922 Swedish film Haxan to offer perspective on the historical origins of the witch, the talk will include clips and analysis of Mario Bava’s 1960 film Black Sunday to examine what film theorist Barbara Creed calls “the monstrous feminine,” and TV classic Bewitched to offer visions of the “good witch” as the women’s liberation movement begins to coalesce in the early 1960s. Sollée will also use aspects of George Romero’s Season of the Witch, anime classic Belladonna of Sadness, Lair of the White Worm, The Witches of Eastwick and The Craft to analyze conceptions of female sexual expression, and Anna Biller’s The Love Witch to undress the witch through the female gaze. By juxtaposing leading scholarly research on European and American witch hunts with art and pop occulture artifacts, this talk will delve into the complex legacy of the witch from past to present, exploring how the divine and demon feminine have been harnessed to both frighten and inspire diverse audiences for decades.

This class originated at The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies. Founded in 2010 by film writer and programmer Kier-La Janisse, The Miskatonic Institute  of Horror Studies offers classes in horror history, theory and production, with branches in London, New York and Los Angeles, as well as hosting special events worldwide. www.miskatonicinstitute.com


Kristen J. Sollee is a writer, curator, and educator exploring the intersections of art, sex, and occulture. She is the founding editrix of Slutist, a sex positive feminist website, and lectures at The New School and across the US and Europe. Sollée’s signature college course, "The Legacy of the Witch" follows the witch through history, pop culture, and politics. Her critically-acclaimed book inspired by the course, Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive was published by Stone Bridge Press in 2017. Her second book, Cat Call: Reclaiming the Feral Feminine will be published by Weiser Books in the fall of 2019.