Dr Benedict Morrison

Research interests

Research interests include:

  • British television
  • Queer cinema
  • Inarticulate film form
  • Ealing Studios
  • The films of Peter Greenaway

I am preparing a bid for a grant for a major new project on theories of queer television. This new approach will consider the ways in which structures and forms of television exhibition may be seen as queer. This will complicate the common sense account of the historic evolution of television, which describe progress from a primitive and paternalistic transmission model to a liberated and inclusive archive model on digital platforms. I argue that queer theories of the family, of inheritance, and of the closet can inform and enrich this account, and invite us to imagine a new exhibition model which synthesises the earlier models in a new, queer(ing) archive.

I am currently completing a monograph in which I explore the relationship between film form and character expression. Both may be seen as articulated structures, that is utterances in which separable parts operate cooperatively to create meaning. I investigate the indeterminate dialectics established by the dynamic relationship between inarticulacies of character and disrupted forms which display their own many-jointed structure. Examples of such formal disjuncture may include contrapuntal narrative levels, clashing styles, discontinuous editing, bricolage, the dislocation of genre signifiers from conventional meanings, and intermedia. The unresolved relationship between parts and whole (reminiscent of a complex mosaic structure) complicates the process of reading for univocal meaning. I am in the process of submitting a monograph for publication. The research was funded by the AHRC.

My interest in queer theory is not primarily about representation and visibility, but rather in the dismantling of the forms and structures of normative (and normativising) thought. In light of this, I am interested in how seemingly normative cinema texts (with especial interest in British, European art, and Brazilian cinema) can, through careful formal scrutiny, be productively queered.