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Adult Film History Scholarly Interest Group (Founded 2014)
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Mission Statement

From the earliest decades of the motion picture, there have been films intended for the consumption of “adults only.” For our purposes “adult film” is considered to be time-based visual media with an emphasis on nudity and / or human sexuality that is intended for viewing by adults, recognizing that the term “adult” varies in time and place. Adult film includes, but is not limited to, stag movies, “loops,” art studies, sexploitation films, erotic thrillers, adult video, pornography, sex education films, etc., regardless of production medium (35mm film, videotape, digital video, etc.) or distribution or exhibition context. Adult film has historically been cordoned off from the rest of popular entertainment through censorship, alternative production and distribution channels, separation in physical space, etc., resulting in challenges in its historiography that are seldom confronted in other areas of media history.

Recent years have seen a growth of interest in, and research on, adult film within the field of film and media studies. Monographs, edited collections, special editions of academic journals – and journals themselves – are now devoted to adult film, not to mention panels and workshops at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) conference and stand-alone conferences. Adult Film History (AFH) is formed as a Scholarly Interest Group (SIG) within SCMS to further the area of adult film history. AFH encourages the exploration of adult film from economic, social, technological, and aesthetic perspectives within the larger context of global entertainment and leisure industries while taking into account local social and political conditions.

AFH will provide a forum for scholars working on adult film history to collaborate, share information and archival sources, debate issues within the field, and promote high caliber research. AFH will advocate for the archival preservation of adult films and ancillary materials related to them, as well as encourage open access to such material for historians and other researchers.  AFH will also serve as a liaison with scholars from other fields and other professional organizations with an interest in the history of adult film.

Goals and Objectives

  • To serve as a support network for mutually interested historians working on in the field of adult film history;
  • To serve as an information and resource exchange for scholars working in the field through an annual meeting, dialogue via email, and the creation of a website;
  • To act as a site that can begin to bibliographically link micro-histories of adult film by period, topic, subtopic, nationality, methodology, etc.;
  • To support panels and workshops at the annual SCMS conference and to encourage the publication of scholarship in Cinema Journal and other peer-reviewed outlets;
  • To support screenings of historically significant adult films in an academic context;
  • To encourage the archiving of adult films and associated material and open access to qualified scholars;
  • To develop a series of “best practices” in adult film historiography;
  • To serve as a force for legitimizing the historical study of adult film where and when needed

  1. All members of the Adult Film History Scholarly Interest Group must be members in good standing of SCMS.
  2. Two members of AFH will serve as Co-Chairs of the SIG for staggered three-year terms. The Co-Chairs will be elected at the first meeting of the SIG at the SCMS conference in March 2015. For the first election one of the Co-Chairs will be elected for a two-year term and the other for a three-year term. Subsequently all elections will be for three year terms. Elections will normally take place at the SIG meeting at the annual SCMS conference and the results of the elections will be promptly communicated to the Board of Directors.
  3. The Co-Chairs of the SIG will be responsible for organizing all SIG business and for securing space and time for meetings at the annual SCMS conference.
  4. A graduate student representative may be elected for a two-year term from among the members of the SIG who are currently matriculating in a graduate program at an accredited college or university. The graduate student representative will coordinate graduate student concerns within the AFH SIG and communicate them to the Co-Chairs.
  5. At the annual meeting of AFH a majority of the members constitute a quorum for transaction of business. A vote of the majority of members in attendance at a meeting in which a quorum is present will carry an issue.
  6. Minutes of the annual meeting will be taken by one of the Co-Chairs of AFH and will be circulated to all members of the SIG via email within one month of the conclusion of the meeting.
  7. The Co-Chairs will prepare an annual report regarding the SIG’s activities and current membership to be submitted to the SCMS Board of Directors prior to their fall meeting.
  8. Business of AFH may be transacted by email. Two-thirds of the membership must cast ballots to constitute a quorum. A vote of the majority of members casting ballots will carry an issue.
  9. When voting is conducted by email a message with the subject “AFH VOTE” will be sent to all members. Members will then have seven days from the time the message is sent to cast a ballot on the issue.


Contacts (Updated 2/18/20)

Elena Gorfinkel, Co-Chair (Term: 2017-2020)
Lynn Comella, Co-Chair (Term: 2018-2021)
Darshana Mini, Graduate Student Representative (Term:  2017 - 2019)

Contact Us

Society for Cinema and Media Studies
640 Parrington Oval
Wallace Old Science Hall, Room 300
Norman, OK 73019
(405) 325-8075