Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Non-Anglophone scholarship

Michael Newman has written a terrific reflection on intermediality and transmediality and what they say about competing (parallel?) traditions of media studies. But just as interesting are his opening reflections:
[I]n film and television studies, the world of the American academic includes few scholars outside of North America and the UK. We read or at least know about all kinds of Continental theory (claim your ignorance of Gramsci, Habermas, or Foucault at your own risk) but are unlikely to know who’s who among contemporary Italian, German, or French media scholars, never mind those in Asia or Latin America. (There are some exceptions – some Danish and Dutch scholars in film, television, and video game studies come to mind.) 
What if there are important ideas out there that we’re missing?
It's something I've thought about and frankly always feel guilty about. I guess I'd like to think of strategies, individual or collective, to help get around this barrier.  I know for instance that SCMS has sought to address this very issue with more international conferences (on hold now?), but there are some real difficulties here, namely that the US and Canadian academic calendars don't synch up with anyone else's. Moreover, SCMS is a professional convention superimposed upon an academic conference, and there is a little mismatch of cultures.

In Europe, the European Network of Cinema and Media Scholars is one useful starting point, given that they run a journal and an annual Anglophone conference that draws in scholars from across the continent and the UK. I know some who have attended but I never have.

For myself, I would probably do well to do a number of things: watch more broadly, attend more conferences (international if i can swing it), read an occasional foreign language journal (my language skills in French and German aren't that hot), and keep my eyes and ears open for what's going on in area studies journals.

I would love to hear of anyone has practical strategies for a more cosmopolitan discipline.

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