Culture & Politics



Sport culture, films & film making, sex, art & pornography, government and state formation

Parallel to her writing on the environment and health, Varda has also written for many years about culture and politics. On this page, some examples of that work can be found.


AmRitesThe Rites of Men: Manhood, Politics and the Culture of Sport. Scholarly work. University of Toronto Press. Toronto 1999. Book of the Year Award (2000) North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (USA). [For more about Rites, click here.]

’Sport as a Secular Sacrament,’ excerpted from The Rites of Men: Manhood, Politics and the Culture of Sport in Sport in Contemporary Society: An Anthology. Stanley Eitzen, ed. Paradigm Publishers, Boulder Colorado. 2005.

Women, Sport and Politics. Encyclopaedia of Women and Sport. Berkshire Reference Works. Berkshire Massachusetts 1999.

Some Political Reflections on Globalization, Ideology, Gender and Olympic Sport. Problematizing the Olympic Games. Kevin B. Wamsley ed. International Centre for Olympic Studies University of Western Ontario. London (ON) 1998.

The Sporting Life. Taking Sport Seriously: Social Issues in Canadian Sport. Peter Donnelly ed. Thompson Educational Publications. Toronto 1997. First published in Saturday Night March 1990. A political history of steroid use in Olympic sport.

Sport, Gender and Politics: Moving Beyond the O.J. Saga. The Socialist Register 1996. Leo Panitch ed. London (UK) 1996.

Play, Performance and Power. Three hour-long documentaries on sport and society, on men’s sport, women’s sport and the Olympic Games. IDEAS CBC Radio 1986.

Toronto…Ontario, USA: Hollywood Tanks Roll into Canada. Mother Jones. Jan 1987.

Cries and Whispers Reconsidered. Cineaction, Nos. 3/4. Toronto Winter 1988.

Masculinity, Profit and Violence in the Hollywood Cinema. Canadian Woman Studies. Fall 1983.

Of Movies and Models: Girls in Hollywood. Canadian Woman Studies. Toronto/York University. Vol. 4. No. 1. 1982.

The Seductive Illusion: Sex and Class in the Hollywood Cinema. Canadian Woman Studies. Toronto/York University. Vol. 3, No. 2 1981.

Mangled in the Hollywood Dream Machine. Sojourner. Boston Fall 1980.


Sightlines_6661smArt and Censorship. Sightlines: Reading Contemporary Canadian Art, Jessica Bradley and Lesley Johnstone, eds. Artextes editions. Montreal, 1994.

The War Between the Sexes. Consultant, feature documentary special by Mary O’Connell for Valentine’s Day. Sunday Morning. CBC Radio. February 1993.

Who’s on Top? The Politics of Heterosexuality. Howard Buchbinder, Varda Burstyn, Dinah Forbes, Mercedes Steadman. Garamond Press, Toronto. 1987.

Porn Again: Feeling the Heat of Censorship. Fuse No. 45. Spring 1987. Who Are ‘We’?’ Good Girls, Bad Girls: Sex Trade Workers and Feminists Face to Face. Laurie Bell, ed. Women’s Press. Toronto 1987. The Heat is On! Conference Notes on Women’s Sexuality in Art. Canadian Art. Spring 1986.

Women AgWomenAgainst_6656smainst Censorship (ed.) Douglas and MacIntyre. Toronto 1985. Nominated for H.L. Mencken Award for excellence in writing related to civil liberties (USA).

Doing the Bunny Hop the American Way: Varda Burstyn Reads Playboy. Writer and presenter, Paper Tiger Television media literacy series. New York 1984.

Public Sex: Four hour-long documentaries on the pornography debates, on the sexualization of advertising and commodities, the censorship of sexually explicit art and the wider spread of sexual issues in public discourse, including thorny issues of representation and censorship. IDEAS, CBC radio, 1983.

State Censorship, Pornography and Sexuality. Atkinson Review of Canadian Studies, Vol.1, No. 2. Spring 1984.York University. Toronto 1984.
Anatomy of a Moral Panic. Fuse, Vol. 8, Nos. 1 & 2. Summer 1984. Art and Censorship. Fuse. Sep/Oct 1983.

Defending the Dinner Party. Fireweed. Toronto. Winter 1982.


The New Imperial Order Foretold. The Socialist Register. Leo Panitch and Colin Leys, eds. Merlin. London (UK) 2004.

Women Against Free Trade Manifesto and How Women Against Free Trade Came to Write its Manifesto, with Judy Rebick. Resources for Feminist Research Volume 17 No. 3. Toronto 1989.

Israel at the Crossroads. Three hour-long documentaries on Israeli and Palestinian politics, just before the first Intifadah, prepared in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. IDEAS, CBC Radio, 1987.

Women, Class, Family and the State. One of two monographs in this volume, the other by Dorothy Smith. Garamond Press. Toronto 1985.

Feminism in the Political Arena. Four hour-long documentaries with prominent feminists in Great Britain, the United States, Quebec and English Canada, exploring the impact of feminism on and in government, and the impact of working in government on women who chose this path. IDEAS, CBC radio, 1982.

Masculine Dominance and the State. The Socialist Register, Ralph Milliband and John Savile, eds. Merlin. London (UK) 1983.

Economy, Sexuality, Politics: Engels and the Sexual Division of Labour. Socialist Studies Annual 1 (1), University of Manitoba Press. Winnipeg 1983.


Wisecracks. Consultant. Directed by Gail Singer, produced by Signe Johansson. National Film Board of Canada/Alliance co-production. 1989. Award-winning film about women stand-up comics.

Issues in Women’s Documentary Filmmaking. Programmer and organizer, writers’ seminar. National Film Board of Canada, Toronto, 1989. Cinema and Cultural Minorities, Grierson Documentary Seminar. Multi-day event co-moderated with documentarian Magnus Isacsson. National Film Board of Canada. Toronto, 1988. Forum on Television. Consultant on media literacy for TV Ontario’s 10-week audience participation series, 1985.

Eight Hours a Day and Donne-toi la chance. First co-director, researcher and writer; sole writer, print material (accompanying brochure and organizers manual). Educational videos on women in non-traditional jobs for Skyworks and the Ontario Women’s Directorate. Toronto, 1987. Silver Award of the Information Officer’s Forum, 1987.

Radical Questions for Experimental Filmmakers. Fuse. September, 1982. Winner, alternative press award, 1982.

back to top