What is "Category D"?
I'm sure plenty of you got the reference to the Cahiers du Cinema essay "Cinema/Ideology/Criticism." It's funny, but no one seems to care about anything other than the Category E any more. Reflecting on the straightforward – and thoroughly conventional – discourse that is my writing style, I thought Category D (political films with conventional form) captured the spirit of this site best. That, and I guess I wanted to signal both a fondness for the project of 1970s film theory and a sense of its limitations, i.e. not accepting political modernism as the only acceptable and politically worthwhile cultural production.
Why couldn't you come up with a clever blog name instead?
For starters, I'm not all that imaginative. Also, I wanted a dowdy, analytic title in the face of the Allure of the Cool that sometimes infects film and media studies. To point fingers…I didn't want sexy.
Who are you?
Chris Cagle, currently unaffiliated academically and living in Boston. I received my Ph.D. in English from Brown University in 2005, working mostly in the Modern Culture Media Department. My dissertation was a social and industrial history of the Hollywood social problem film.
Is there just one author?
For now. If any other film or media scholars like the project of this site and are interested in writing, please contact me at Chris UNDERSCORE Cagle AT mindspring DOT com. I'd welcome other contributors.
How often will you write?
I've blogged in other fora before, so I realize that consistency and frequency is the hallmark of a good blog. Unfortunately, I don't know how much time I'll have for this, so we'll just have to see how frequently this site gets updated. If other contributors jump on board, that changes everything of course.
Why do you distinguish an academic film/media studies blog from other film and media blogs?
A couple of reasons, but the main distinction boils down to analysis over evaluation. It's fun to talk about one's favorite films or write at length about popular culture, but scholarship means more than cinephilia or fandom. Or, to put it more charitably, in other contexts I'm eager to encouarge film culture and consume popular culture, but here I'm eager to encourage the consumption of scholarship.
Does this mean you wont be highlighting individual films and television shows?
Of course there's room for analysis of texts here. And perhaps DVD release news or similar information may be noteworthy. Perhaps some lighter fare will slip in from time to time. But throughout the emphasis will be on scholarship of film and media.
Why have you tacked on "and media"? Is that some sort of tokenism?
Yes and no. I'm primarily a film scholar, and I work mostly on matters of film history. That emphasis will show here. That said, the discipline does inform television and media studies and in turn, cinema studies is being pushed in new directions by the insights from media studies scholars. And I've certainly learned from what modest training I've had in television history and aesthetics.
I have a film, television or media specific site. Will you link to me?
Probably, just drop me a note. I do want to keep the blogroll as focused on academic side of things as much as the content here, so I reserve the right not to link to sites dominated by personal reflection, politics, favorite film lists, what have you.
Are you advancing a theoretical agenda?
I'll have opinions, certainly, and won't be shy in expressing them. My goal here, though really is a positive one: to engage with and encourage others to engage with existing and new scholarship in productive ways.
Avalanche! day 12
1 day ago