Left: Cross-race Casting — multi-racial actress Lady Tsen Mei
Center: Ft. Lee Actresses — actress/producer Clara Kimball Young
Right: Cross-dressing — Mexican actress/producer Mimí Derba


  1. immigration and identity crisis 
  2. filmmaking as an immigrant / first and second-generation immigrant filmmakers
  3. cultural differences
  4. adaptations of the classics and mythologies
  5. foreign faces on film screen
  6. fledgling filmmakers studying abroad
  7. transnational collaboration
  8. female spectators at work & play
  9. the global and/or the local in the silent era
  10. cinema & social class mobility
  11. archival practices & digital research innovation
  12. international women who started film industries
  13. xenophobia: past & present
  14. long-lost connections: theater & motion pictures
  15. immigration stories as family melodrama
  16. cinema & cultural cross-pollination
  17. #MeToo in the silent era workplace on & off the set
  18. critical race theory & cross-race casting
  19. Marxism, feminism, mass culture
  20. women screenwriters & screenwriting manuals
  21. funny, weird, amazing, quirky women
  22. women as avant-gardists & documentarians
  23. scandal, sex & salacious publicity
  24. below-the-line-jobs: animators, colorists & lab assistants
  25. The "New Woman": myth & reality
  26. gender & technology
  27. queerness, cross-dressing & gender-bending
  28. music, affect & melodrama
  29. representation of mythologies
  30. Chinese women in film - contemporary and historical comparison

*How did urban or rural locations of production and exhibition inform modes of viewing, ideologies, and industrial development if seen through the lens of feminist theory, critical race theory, and historiography?

*How do we understand the relationship between women’s movie-going and their increasing mobility during this era—within and across national borders, occupationally, and on screens?

*What blocked women’s mobility or complicated these processes of migration? How did cinema affect women’s social and career mobility in different locations?

*How did gender, nationality, and race play out in silent cinemagoers’ engagement in the spaces of the film factory, movie theaters, and fan culture?

*How might more comparative work on sites of film production and exhibition across various kinds of borders help us better understand women’s participation in silent cinema and the development of cinema more broadly?

*Who are the female film-factory laborers who never receive screen credit, yet who worked as title writers, editors, telegraph operators, joiners, or colorists, and how can we mark their contribution to the development and success of these film industries?

*What new perspectives might be gained from re-examining old studies (or making new ones) of motion picture theater locations and audience composition in cities and towns?

*How might we reconsider theories of silent stardom and celebrity culture in light of the troubled history of women’s occupational mobility and access in the cinema industries?