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Recollecting Collecting

A Film and Media Perspective

edited by Lucy Fischer

Film Theory and Criticism, Media Studies

Published: April 2023
ISBN: 9780814348550
Pages: 300 Size: 6 x 9
Illustrations: 38 b&w illus.
Published: April 2023
ISBN: 9780814348567
Pages: 300 Size: 6 x 9
Illustrations: 38 b&w illus.
Published: April 2023
ISBN: 9780814348574
Pages: 300 Size: EPUB
Illustrations: 38 b&w illus.

This intriguing volume sheds light on the diverse world of collecting film- and media-related materials. Lucy Fischer’s introduction explores theories of collecting and representations of collecting and collections in film, while arguing that collections of film ephemera and other media-related collections are an important way in to understanding the relationship between material culture and film and media studies; she notes that the collectors have various motivations and types of collections. In the eleven chapters that follow, media studies scholars analyze a variety of fascinating collected materials, from Doris Day magazines to Godzilla action figures and LEGOs.

While most contributors discuss their personal collections, some also offer valuable insight into specific collections of others. In many cases, collections that began as informal and personal have been built up, accessioned, and reorganized to create teaching and research materials which have significantly contributed to the field of film and media studies. Readers are offered glimpses into diverse collections comprised of films, fan magazines, records, comics, action figures, design artifacts, costumes, props– including Buffy the Vampire Slayer costumes, Planet of the Apes publicity materials, and Amazing Spider Man comics. Recollecting Collecting interrogates and illustrates the meaning and practical nature of film and media collections while also considering the vast array of personal and professional motivations behind their assemblage.

Lucy Fischer is distinguished professor emerita in film and media studies at the University of Pittsburgh, where she also served as director of the program. She is author or editor of fourteen books, including Cinemagritte (Wayne State University Press, 2019), and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Critics and Humanities Research Fellowship.

Contributors Include:
Kara Lynn Andersen, Erika Balsom, Joanne Bernardi, Mark Best, Blair Davis, Lucy Fischer, Krin Gabbard, Barry Keith Grant, Leah Kerr, Adam Lowenstein, Tamar Jeffers MacDonald, Josh Stenger

Gathering a range of first-rate scholars and inventive topics, Lucy Fischer’s fascinating collection orchestrates three contemporary theoretical currents—focused on material culture, thing theory, and collecting—to make a clear case for the vibrancy of current debates in film and media criticism.

– Timothy Corrigan, professor emeritus of cinema and media studies, University of Pennsylvania, and author of The Essay Film: From Montaigne, After Marker

In addition to its erudition and scholarly value, Recollecting Collecting will produce sighs of pure pleasure among readers who have always viewed their assorted and cherished treasures as a tangible means of connection with the past, real or imagined. In fact, the only thing ‘wrong’ with this volume is that I am not in it.

– Adrienne L. McLean,, author of All for Beauty: Makeup and Hairdressing in Hollywood’s Studio Era and Being Rita Hayworth: Labor, Identity, and Hollywood Stardom

This is a wonderful ‘collection’ of essays devoted to a subject many readers can
relate to but perhaps have not quite come to terms with. For any scholar there is surely an
element of autobiography in the reading of this engaging, important, and wonderfully accessible
collection. Indeed, the first-person narratives are fascinating whether one knows the writers
personally or not at all. One wants often to say, ‘that’s interesting!’ or ‘me, too!’ and the deft
integration of theoretical underpinning or scholarly revelations only makes this sharper, clearer,
and more inviting. It is surprising that there has been no significant work on personal collecting
by film and media scholars. Thus, Lucy Fischer, one of the true pioneers in the field, has done it
again, offering up a book that, somehow, we didn’t realize but now insist that we absolutely

– Frances Gateward, professor of communication, culture, and media studies, Howard University

In Recollecting Collecting, Lucy Fisher gathers an eclectic selection of scholars who cannily explore the ways affective attachment to material objects can contribute to the widening of film and media research. Engaging Black cinema collectibles, Hollywood fan magazines, TV-inspired fashion, and comic books, among other artifacts, this timely anthology urges a nuanced questioning of the roles ownership, access, and power have accrued in the writing of media historiographies. By dwelling on the intersection of fandom and scholarship, this collection of essays further prompts an important reconsidering of what emerges when a scholar falls in love with their primary sources.

– Diana W. Anselmo, author of A Queer Way of Feeling: Girl Fans and Personal Archives of Early Hollywood, and assistant professor of critical studies, California State University, Long Beach

Lucy Fischer’s Recollecting Collecting is one of the first books to explore film and media collecting from a scholarly point of view. Featuring the work of scholars whose collections have inspired, tested, or extended their research, Fischer provides a rare and compelling look into film and media collecting and the ways that it has shaped professional lives.

– Patrice Petro, professor of film and media studies, University of California, Santa Barbara