Jane Gaines is a professor of literature and English at Duke University, where she founded and directs the Program in Film and Video. Her interests are film theory, new media, cultural studies, race theory, and early film history.
At the Radcliffe Institute, Gaines will write a book about women film pioneers. Between 1916 and 1923, women in the motion-picture industry were more powerful than women in any other American business. In 1923, more women than men had their own production companies, independent of the growing studios. Gaines will write a comparative history of feminist developments in film studies as they parallel literary studies and art-historical studies, and she will explore how a collaborative effort became individualized and industrialized.
Gaines earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University. She is the author of two books: Fire and Desire: Mixed-Race Movies in the Silent Era (University of Chicago Press, 2002) and Contested Culture: The Image, the Voice, and the Law (University of North Carolina Press, 1991). She has received numerous prizes and awards, including the Katherine Singer Kovacs Award for Best Book in Film/TV Studies, an Academy Film Scholar grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and a fellowship at the National Humanities Center.