In the early days of film, female comedians appeared in short movies that included both strange activities and slapstick pranks. In her new book Specters...

In the early days of film, female comedians appeared in short movies that included both strange activities and slapstick pranks. In her new book Specters of Slapstick and Silent Film Comediennes  (Columbia University Press, 2018), Maggie Hennefeld (Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities) explores the rich archive of these feminist slapstick comedies. She argues that their popularity was central to the emergence of cinema, and emphasizes their powerful cultural and political impact, particularly in the feminist movement leading to women’s rights and voting suffrage. She illustrates how these films still have important meanings into the present day.