Eleonora Sammartino is a Teaching Fellow in Film Studies at the University of Southampton, where she teaches at all levels of Film's BA and MA programmes. Her research interests focus on US film and media through the prism of popular genres, in particular the musical; the relationship between feminisms and contemporary media cultures; star and celebrity studies, with an emphasis on the cultural politics of identity; and gendered representation and creative labour. Eleonora is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE).
- Hollywood musical
- Popular genres in US film and media
- Postfeminism and Popular Feminism in contemporary media
- Stardom, celebrity culture and identity
- Gender representation on screen
My research focuses on two interconnected strands, investigating the connections between power, neoliberalism, and identity politics, and the political value of popular culture. I am currently working on a monograph that examines the interdependence between the changing forms of the Hollywood musical and the representation of gendered identities in the period between 1980-2016. Considering contextual cultural shifts in gender discourses in this period, I argue that the representation of fluid gendered identities, which assert themselves through performativity in this genre, has contributed to the reshaping of its forms. As part of this research, I have already published an article on Rent for the European Journal of American Studies. This sought to reassess the cultural significance of the musical, from its origins in the early 1990s to the screen adaptation in 2005, situated in relation to the socio-cultural context that engendered it and that of its reception, from the AIDS-epidemic and the gentrification of the Lower East Side in New York City in the 1980s to the post-9/11. I demonstrated that the musical could be used to reflect on the process of commodification of queer subculture as it moved from the margins to the mainstream.
I have recently completed a book chapter for the collection Working Women on Screen, edited by Ellie Tomsett, Nathalie Weidhase and Poppy Wilde (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming). The chapter brings together my interest in musicals and popular feminism through the analysis of the TV show Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist to explore the representation of women in tech in mainstream media. With an emphasis on space and performance, the chapter interrogates the tensions between the role of women in this industry and feminist discourses in popular culture, as well as the relationship between structural inequalities and the affective reconfiguration of the workplace.
In 2023-24, I am teaching on the following modules:
FILM1001: Introduction to Film 1 - Style and Analysis
FILM2019: Women and Hollywood
FILM3003: Film Dissertation
FILM3012: Music in Film
FILM6031: Film Stardom and Celebrity Culture
I have supervised BA and MA dissertations on a range of topics including musical biopics, postfeminist romcoms, girl culture, sci-fi fandom, women in action films, mother-daughter relationships in contemporary Chinese cinema, and Chinese women filmmakers, among the others.
I am also the Lead Academic Integrity Officer for the Film Studies department.
In my previous experience in Higher Education, I have taught an extensive variety of modules at undergraduate and postgraduate taught levels, both within and beyond my expertise, such as Hollywood Musical, Race, Culture and American Cinema, Wildlife Documentary and Documentary Theory, Italian Neorealism, Film History 1895-1930, Transnational Cinema, Cinema and Space, and Media Contexts.
External roles and responsibilities
I obtained a PhD in Film Studies at King's College London in 2018. I previously studied at La Sapienza University in Rome for both my BA and MA in Performing Arts, with a specialism in Film Studies. There, I started to develop my interest in the Hollywood musical and feminist theories. Both these strands conveged in my doctoral project, which examined the interdependence between the representation of gendered identities and the forms of the American film musical in the period 1980-2012. I am currently working on expanding this project into a monograph.
My research centres on the political value of popular entertainment and the relationship between power and identity in contemporary media cultures. My work on the musical and contemporary feminisms is representative of these research interests. I have published on queer subculture and temporality in Rent for the European Journal of American Studies, the representation of Afrodescendant subjects on Italian television through the comparative study of US television series Parenthood and its Italian remake for the Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies, and choir films for the edited collection Musicals at the Margins. Most recently, I have co-edited with Alice Guilluy a special issue of Celebrity Studies dedicated to Hugh Grant's celebrity persona.
Before joining Southampton, I have taugth extensively in Higher Education, working at institutions such as King's College London, University of Reading, and University of Greenwich. I also continue to teach film history in adult education at Imperial College London.
I am the co-chair of the BAFTSS special interest group "Performance and Stardom".