Profile

Domitilla Olivieri is Assitant Professor at the department of Media and Culture Studies (MCW) at Utrecht University, where she has been teaching since 2007. Her primary areas of interest are at the crossroads between feminist theories, visual studies, contemporary art, semiotics, popular culture, documentary film and anthropology.

She was awarded the PhD title with a doctoral research entitled Haunted by Reality. Towards a feminist study of documentary film: indexicality, vision and the artifice. Domitilla graduated in Anthropology at 'Sapienza' University of Rome in 2005 with a thesis entitled Hearing/feeling, Observing, Filming. Anthropology of the Senses in Vallepietra. After having been awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship for Early Stage Training in Gender and Women's Studies (EU Sixth Framework Programme), she accomplished in 2008 a RMA in Gender and Ethnicity and started her PhD research at the History and Culture Institute (OGC) and the Graduate Gender Programme (GGeP) at Utrecht University.

Committed to bridging the distance between academic and non-academic milieus, she also collaborates with cultural spaces and in collaborative projects with artists and filmmakers in the Netherlands and in Italy. In the past she has worked more specifically in the fields of anthropology of the senses and ethnomusicology, focusing on Italian traditional cultures, pilgrimages, rituals and musical traditions.

Other areas of interest are: ethnomusicology, anthropology of the senses, popular culture, visual arts, technologies of vision, theories on the body and all those subjects in which theories on gender, technologies and representation can be constructively combined in order to provide an account of the power dynamics and relations embedded into social and cultural practices.

Strategic themes / Focus areas
Involved in the following study programme(s)
Scientific expertise
feminist film
politics of representation
technologies of vision
audio-visual arts
anthropology of the senses
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Key publications

Olivieri, Domitilla & Zarzycka, Marta (2017). Affective Encounters: tools of interruption for activist media practices. Feminist Media Studies, 17 (4), (pp. 527-701).

Olivieri, D. (2016). Documentary Film and Gender. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies (pp. 1-4). Wiley-Blackwell.

Olivieri, D. (2016). Diasporic proximities: spaces of ‘home’ in European documentary. Transnational Cinemas, 7 (2), (pp. 135-150).

Olivieri, D. & Steyerl, H (2013). "Shattered images and desiring matter". A dialogue between Hito Steyerl and Domitilla Olivieri. In B Papenburg & M Zarzycka (Eds.), Carnal Aesthetics: Transgressive Imagery and Feminist Politics (pp. 214-225) (12 p.). London: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.

All publications
  2018 - Book parts / chapters
Olivieri, D. (2018). Trinh T. Minh-ha: Feminist Approaches to Documentary Film. In Rosemarie Buikema, Liedeke Plate & Kathrin Thiele (Eds.), Doing Gender in Media, Art and Culture: A Comprehensive Guide to Gender Studies (pp. 208-221).
  2017 - Special issue
Olivieri, Domitilla & Zarzycka, Marta (2017). Affective Encounters: tools of interruption for activist media practices. Feminist Media Studies, 17 (4), (pp. 527-701).
  2016 - Articles
Olivieri, D. (2016). Diasporic proximities: spaces of ‘home’ in European documentary. Transnational Cinemas, 7 (2), (pp. 135-150).
  2016 - Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary
Olivieri, D. (2016). Documentary Film and Gender. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies (pp. 1-4). Wiley-Blackwell.
Olivieri, D. (2016). Popular Culture and Gender. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies Wiley-Blackwell.
  2015 - Book parts / chapters
Olivieri, D. (2015). Trinh T. Minh-ha en de feministische documentaire. In Rosemarie Buikema & Liedeke Plate (Eds.), Gender in Media, Kunst en Cultuur (2nd edition) (pp. 283 - 300). Couthino.
  2015 - Invited talk
Olivieri, D. (14.08.2015) Invited speaker Affective Encounters: Tools of Interruption for Activist Media Practices Montreal (14.08.2015 - 17.08.2015)
Olivieri, D. (18.03.2015) Invited speaker Postcolonial Cinemas in Europe: Migration, Identity and Spatiality in Film Genres (08.03.2015 - 20.03.2015)
  2014 - Book editorship
Olivieri, D. & Leurs, K.H.A. (2014). Everyday Feminist Research Praxis - Doing Gender in the Netherlands. (301 p.). Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  2014 - Book parts / chapters
Olivieri, D. (2014). In the Intervals between ‘Now’ and ‘Then’, ‘Here’ and ‘There’: Transnational Spaces Performed and Reimagined in Digital Hybrid Documentary. In Domitilla Olivieri & Koen Leurs (Eds.), Everyday Feminist Research Praxis - Doing Gender in the Netherlands (pp. 210-229).
  2014 - Articles
Olivieri, D. (2014). Video di confini: attraversamenti fra realtà, visioni e visualizzazioni. DWF (Donna, Woman, Femme)
  2014 - Conference
Olivieri, D. (11.12.2014) Chair Visible Evidence XXI New Delhi (11.12.2014 - 14.12.2014) Affective encounters: tools of interruption for activist media practices
  2014 - Invited talk
Olivieri, D. (04.09.2014) Invited speaker Alphaville Conference (04.09.2014 - 06.09.2014) Rhythms of proximity: spaces and sounds of the ordinary
  2013 - Book parts / chapters
Olivieri, D. & Steyerl, H (2013). "Shattered images and desiring matter". A dialogue between Hito Steyerl and Domitilla Olivieri. In B Papenburg & M Zarzycka (Eds.), Carnal Aesthetics: Transgressive Imagery and Feminist Politics (pp. 214-225) (12 p.). London: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.
  2013 - Invited talk
Olivieri, D. (30.06.2013) Invited speaker ¡Documentary Now! (19.06.2013 - 20.06.2013) Rhythm, stillness and everything in-between: time and visuality in documentary film
Olivieri, D. (15.08.2013) Invited speaker Visible Evidence XX Stockholm (15.08.2013 - 18.08.2013) The Promise of the Invisible: Documentary Art and Anthropological Documentary in Dialogue
  2012 - Doctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)
  2012 - Invited talk
Olivieri, D. (29.06.2012) Invited speaker Digital Crossroads: Media, Migration and Diaspora in a Transnational Perspective Utrecht (28.06.2012 - 30.06.2012)
  2009 - Lectures
D. Olivieri (05.06.2009) The im/possibility of vision: practices of looking deconstructed and re-imagined in "The Fourth Dimension"
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PhD dissertation extended abstract
HAUNTED BY REALITY.
TOWARD A FEMINIST STUDY OF DOCUMENTARY FILM: INDEXICALITY, VISION AND THE ARTIFICE
 
Feminism, documentary film and visual anthropology are the three domains that this study connects. The multifaceted relation between these three fields can be summarised as revolving around the debates on reality, truth, representation of the Other, knowledge production and power.
Domitilla Olivieri’s dissertation explores such intricate interrelations through the analysis of three films: Kim Longinotto’s Sisters in Law (2005), Trinh T. Minh-ha’s Reassemblage (1982) and Ursula Biemann’s Europlex (2003). To different extents, and in multiple and overlapping ways, these films address the issue of representation(s) of non-Western, and especially female subjects, the relation between sign and reality and the power dynamics implicit in documentary filmmaking.
The dissertation shows that the relation between reality and the documentary sign can be understood as one of ‘haunting’. Haunting here refers to the specific indexical quality of the relation between sign and object, the manner in which the object affects or determines the sign (Peirce 1958, 8.177), or the way in which “the world presses on” the cinematic sign (Comolli 1999, 40). Borrowing and expanding upon Mary Ann Doane’s definition of the indexical sign as one that is “haunted by its object” (Doane 2007b, 134), Olivieri presents several examples in which the filmed reality inhabits, intrudes upon, and makes itself continually present in the filmic documentary sign.
As the particular focus of this research is on anthropological feminist documentaries, Olivieri considers them as films haunted by reality and regarding feminist issues to do with the politics of the Other and processes of Othering.
These films are, to borrow Trinh’s concept, “inappropriate/d” (Trinh 1986, 9). They cross labels and categorisation; explore and perform borders; let themselves be haunted by reality without falling flat into the hegemonic pitfalls of realism; they imagine and represent invisible realities while pointing attention to the power of vision and visuality; they escape rigid definitions while providing the space to redefine meanings and realities; and while these films are determined by the social world, they can also be “transformative of that same world” (Gaines 2007, 19). These are the potential effects of such “inappropriate/d” films, as well as the possibilities opened by a critical perspective that inhabits the space between feminist theories, documentary studies and visual anthropology. Ultimately this is what this research investigates and performs.
Exploring the interconnections between the politics and aesthetics of documentary, this study emphasises what audio-visual representations can do, highlights the links between documentary practices and the processes of knowledge production and, finally, the critical and transformative promise that resides in the encounters between feminism and documentary.

1st supervisor: Prof. Dr. Rosemarie Buikema
2nd supervisor: Prof. Dr. Rosi Braidotti

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Currently dr. Domitilla Olivieri teaches the following course(s):

In the academic years 2014-2015&2015-16 dr. D. Olivieri has been teaching the following courses:

OGMV09001 Advanced Introduction to Gender Research
MCMV12004 Feminist Research Practice
VR3V12002 Gender, Visualty and Technology
VR2V14002 Introduction to Gender Studies
VR3V14005 Politics of Representation
OGMV08008 Research Design
MCMV14003 Somatechnics

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Additional functions and activities

Coordinator of the MA programme Gender Studies

Member of OC TCS (Opleidingscommissie Taal & Cultuur Studies)


Past functions

Coordinator of BA minor programme in Gender Studies.

Coordinator of BA major programme in Postcolonial and Gender Studies [Taal- en cultuurstudies hoofdrichtingsadviseur].

Coordinator of the NOISE (Network Of Interdisciplinary Women’s Studies in Europe) European Summer School: Political Aesthetics and Feminist Theory: Media, Art and Affect [2014].

Coordinator of the thematic strand: ‘Imagination art & politics’ and curator of the art exhibition at the 7th European Feminist Research Conference, ‘Gendered Cultures at the Crossroads of Imagination, Knowledge and Politics’, Utrecht, the Netherlands [2009].

Coordinator of the NOISE (Network Of Interdisciplinary Women’s Studies in Europe) European Summer School: In Between Understanding and Practicing Gender: Intersectionality and Interdisciplinarity [2008].

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Full name
dr. D. Olivieri Contact details
Muntstraat 2-2a

Muntstraat 2-2A
Room 1.03
3512 EV  UTRECHT
The Netherlands


Phone number (direct) +31 30 253 8172
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Last updated 21.11.2017