Liz Constable, Ph.D.

Liz Constable

Position Title
Associate Professor

Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

1213 Hart Hall

The annual International Short Festival (Festival International du Court-Métrage: each February in Clermont-Ferrand, France, probably marks the beginning of my active engagement with film. Between ‘81 and ‘87, while I was living in France, I worked each year with the festival as their translator, and in the process, learnt a tremendous about film-making and the medium of film. Check out their website for the 2008 festival! Fast forward to my work here at UC Davis, and here I regularly teach courses on film in the French and Francophone world.

I teach an introductory survey course to the history of cinema in France, and also regularly teach a course about shifts in filmic perspectives on the period of the German Occupation in France, “The Dark Years”: Film, History and Memory. The work of women film-makers; feminist film practice and theories; and the vibrant role of new vernacular media in addressing histories and memories of war in the North African Francophone world are all central research and teaching foci. I am currently finishing a book manuscript on Catherine Breillat’s films (Visions of Shame), and have just published an article on Nadir Moknèche’s film, Viva Laldjérie (2004), “Material Histories of Transcolonial Loss: Creolizing Psychoanalytic Theories?” Since 2005, in collaboration with the French-American Cultural Exchange and International House, I have organized an annual French and Francophone Film Festival at UCD.


This course examines one of the most important questions that artists, politicians, and legislators in most European nations face today: what are the responsible, ethical ways of dealing with a difficult national past? Our course addresses this question by investigating the diverse roles that films have played and still play in post-World War II (WWII) construction of memories of WWII in France. We focus on films dealing with the memory of WWII in France, the German Occupation of France, the Vichy regime and its politics and policies.