Showing posts from March, 2014

CFP: Documentary and the Voice


Vocal Projections: Documentary and the Voice
University of Surrey (Guildford, UK)
September 19, 2014 
Keynote speaker: Dr. Patrick Sjöberg (Karlstadt University, Sweden)

Despite a renewed scholarly interest in documentary film and television in the last decade, scholars have yet to fully account for the role of sound in documentary and, in particular, the ways in which the human voice figures as a complex and potentially ambiguous element within the audiovisual landscape. Documentary scholarship has tended to focus on the visual, emphasising the importance of the photographic basis of the film image and its indexical relationship with reality. When it is discussed, the human voice has been figured in primarily rhetorical terms as an element that reinforces the visual truth claims of documentary. This symposium seeks to address this gap in documentary scholarship by exploring the connections among the voice, the body, the visual image and issues of rhetoric, affect, pol…

SCMS2014 Reflections

Since yesterday I talked about my live-tweeting experience, I thought I'd focus on the substantive issues of the conference.

Specialist communities: My favorite event of the conference was the Paramount theater reception, hosted by Indiana University Press and the Silent Film SIG. Not only was the venue terrific, there was a palpable sense of scholarly community united around substantive issues in addition to social ties. It made me wish I worked on silent cinema, even. I do think SIGs will take on an increased role in the conference. I wonder how scholars of sound-era classical Hollywood will fit in, since the SIGs are often implicitly defined in reaction against US/classical cinema, which serves as the center in the core-perphery model.

The generalist dilemma: Each year, the conference grows and by now it's just a given that my experience of the conference is just a tiny fraction of the possible panels and papers. I decided this year not to focus narrowly on topics I research;…

Conference Tweeting

I had a terrific time at SCMS this year. It was busy, but intellectually stimulating, and I'm happy to have seen and met so many great scholars in the four days I was there. The only part that's given me pause is my activity tweeting.

Cinema Journal asked me to participate in their collective live-tweeting at CJSCMSc. My experience was very mixed. On one hand, I'm honored to be asked, and I'm happy to give additional exposure to the papers I saw - the main reason I wanted to do this. Chris Becker did a terrific job setting up the CJ SCMS twitter with a variety of critical voices. (People were carping about segregation of media and film feeds, but there were some practical reasons for the split.) At least on the film side, we had a nice complementarity between our interests.

On the other hand, I've decided I'm not all that enthused by the live-tweeting format. Often I could not think of much to write on short notice and in short format, other than to provide cap…


Just a note that I will be one of those contributing to Cinema Journal's Twitter feed devoted to film panels at the conference: @CJSCMSc. I encourage everyone to subscribe to this and the sister feed for media panels @CJSCMSm. 
I will be participating in a workshop on teaching the film history course in session K Friday at 12:15. I'm excited to be part of the workshop and look forward to the discussion.

Jaimie Baron interview

I am pleased to announce the first of an ongoing series of scholar interviews. Jaimie Baron is assistant professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. Her new book, The Archive Effect (Routledge 2014) fills a gap in the scholarship of the found footage film and the study of archival footage. I asked Jaimie to talk more about her book, about compilation films, and her projects.

Your book concerns what others have called compilation or found footage films and that you, with good cause, label appropriation films. One thing that struck me is how your examples cut across documentary and experimental cinema. What about appropriation cinema is able to apply to both experimental work and not-so-experimental documentaries?

Both documentary and experimental films often use appropriated documents – whether filmic, video, audio, or photographic – but their respective appropriation practices have rarely been examined together, except in terms of a rather simp…

CFP: Console-ing Passions 23


CP 23 Rebooting Feminism
Console-ing Passions International Conference on Television, Video, Audio, New Media and Feminism
June 18-20, 2015

Deadling for Abstracts: October 1, 2014.
Applicants will be notified of acceptance by Jan 31, 2015.
Please submit all proposals to:

Founded by a group of feminist media scholars and artists in 1989, Console-ing Passions held its first official conference at the University of Iowa in 1992. Since that time, Console-ing Passions has become the leading international scholarly network for feminist research in television, video, audio, and new media.

Twenty-three years after the group’s founding, we find ourselves in a dramatically different media landscape, as well as a world in which the meanings of feminism, postfeminism, and the intersections of feminism with race, sexuality, and class are hotly contested in the academy, in the popular press, and in contemporary media representations. Console-ing Pass…

The Uses of Jargon

It's easy for critics of jargon to pick out impenetrable phrases. And I do think there's a good case that we as scholars should be on guard for letting words do our thinking for us. If we cannot easily transpose highly metaphorical phrases like "articulation" into something more direct, that's a potential sign there's something intellectually prefabricated about the jargon.

But I want to offer up an example of how I see jargon as functional. The word distanciation in film studies refers to a process by which the film nudges the spectator back from emotional immediacy of narrative, documentary argument, etc. It has a synonym, distance, which is a perfectly simple, ordinary English word that could in fact be used in place of distanciation. After all, one is talking about metaphorical distance. So,
"The scene slowly introduces distanciating sound design"... could read
"The scene slowly introduces sound design that metaphorically distances the spect…

CFP: Visible Evidence 21

Visible Evidence 21--New Delhi
December 11-14, 2014

Visible Evidence, the annual scholarly conference on documentary film, media, culture and politics--interdisciplinary, international and indispensable--is now 21!  Inaugurated at Duke University in 1994, Visible Evidence has met annually ever since--in Canada, the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Brazil, Australia, and most recently in Sweden, as well as in the US (eleven times).

This year the conference will be held in New Delhi, India from December 11 to 14, 2014. Co-hosted by Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia, the conference will be held at the India International Centre, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi. In 2014 we are meeting in Asia for the first time, and for the second time only in the global south.

Visible Evidence 21, as is traditional, will feature a range of panels, workshops, plenary sessions, screenings and special events around documentary, its practices, histories and theories.