Anna Debinski


Screen and Cultural Studies

Profile of Anna Debinski
Profile of Anna Debinski

Anna Debinski is a PhD Candidate and Research Assistant in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. Her research lies at the intersection of screen and disability studies. She has published work on disability and documentary, disability and stardom, the ethics of disability representation and disabled screen workers.



Melodrama as Disability Advocacy: The Cultural Power of Melodrama Films' Affective Representations of Physical Disability

While melodrama regularly informs filmic representations of disabled people, few theorists have connected such representations with disability politics.  This thesis argues that the melodrama mode's emotive, intimate, and contradictory representations of disability encourage spectators to engage with progressive political positions on disability as embodied experience and culturally constructed concept.  Through close analysis of Dark Victory (Goulding, 1939), Magnificent Obsession (Sirk, 1954), The Miracle Worker (Penn, 1962) and Dancer in the Dark (von Trier, 2001) alongside the cultural contexts of their consumption, I suggest that film's affective impact can complicate disability's constructed negative status.  These melodramas reveal complex cultural spaces that value the difference and dependency of non-normative bodies.

Research interests

  • Cinema studies
  • Cultural studies
  • Disability studies
  • Gender studies
  • Media industries