Thursday, September 25, 2014

CFP: Music in European Postwar Cinema

Music in European Postwar Cinema
Call-for-papers for an essay collection

Over the last few decades a well-established theoretical framework for Hollywood and post-Hollywood cinema has emerged, while music in the European cinema has not been given the same scholarly attention. Except for a small number of disparate and unrelated articles, several monographs and one anthology, there is no published scholarly study available which puts forward a theory for music in European cinema. One reason why the void exists is because of the varied and diverse aesthetic approaches to film music in Europe over the last century, as well as the different genres and different production formats, from experimental and art, to mainstream and commercial cinema. The objective of the book project is to bring together the numerous threads and create a theoretical model for the music in European cinema within a well-defined historical period, the postwar years up to the fall of the Berlin wall (1946–1989). The anthology would contain contributions on the music in

  •       Italian Neorealism
  •       Italian cinema from the 1950s to the 1980s
  •       French mainstream cinema of the 1950s
  •       French New Wave cinema
  •       French art and mainstream cinema from the 1960s to the 1980s
  •       Neues Deutsches Kino
  •       West German mainstream cinema from the 1950s to the 1980s
  •       Cinema in the GDR
  •       British Cinema from the 1950s to the 1980s
  •       New British Cinema
  •       Dutch and Belgian cinema
  •       Spanish cinema during the Franco regime
  •       Spanish post-Franco cinema
  •       Scandinavian cinema from Bergman to Trier
  •       Czech, Polish and Hungarian cinema (in particular of the 1960s and 1970s)
  •       Cinema of the Balkans
  •       Greek cinema
  •       Soviet cinema from Stalin to Glasnost

The music in films from these countries and stylistic periods should be ideally analyzed by expanding the horizon of music in cinema to include the following historical, social, political and cultural topics particularly relevant to the life in postwar Europe:

  •       Memory, trauma and the (recent) past
  •       History, politics and cultural identity
  •       Migration, diaspora, displacement and crossing borders
  •       Political repression and self-censorship, dissent and stagnation
  •       Nationalism and “postnationalism”
  •       Images and identity of the self and the other
  •       Human relationships, sexuality, and gender representations

The collection will be edited by Ewelina Boczkowska (Youngstown State University) and Michael Baumgartner (Cleveland State University).  Please submit a 300-word abstract and/or a max. 5,000-word essay or any inquiries to and before October 15th, 2014.

CFP: Orson Welles: A Centennial Celebration and Symposium

Orson Welles: A Centennial Celebration and Symposium
Indiana University
April 29-May 2, 2015

proposal due date: November 15, 2014

Indiana University plans an academic symposium welcoming scholars, archivists, filmmakers, and others interested in celebrating the centennial of Orson Welles’s birth. The event will be held April 29-May 2, 2015 on the beautiful Bloomington, Indiana campus and hosted by Indiana University’s newly established Media School; the Indiana University Libraries (including the Lilly Library, home of the Orson Welles Papers, and the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive); and Indiana University Cinema, which has earned an international reputation for the high quality of its facilities and programming.

Accompanying the symposium will be a series of Welles films and an exhibition featuring rare and unique items from the Welles collection. Renowned Wellesian scholars such as James Naremore, Joseph McBride, Patrick McGilligan, and Jonathan Rosenbaum, along with filmmakers who have worked with Welles or made films about Welles, are expected to give talks, introduce films, and appear in Q&A sessions following screenings.

Interested participants are invited to submit paper proposals on any aspect of Orson Welles’s work in cinema, theater, radio, television, or journalism. As this will be the inaugural symposium of the IU Media School, the theme of Welles as a pioneer or innovator in media is a welcome topic. However, papers need not be limited to any particular critical, theoretical, historical, or political subject or method. We hope to receive proposals that deal with previously unexplored issues, but we are also interested in proposals that offer fresh approaches to much-discussed work.

Proposals should be limited to 300 words in length and consist of a brief description of the paper’s theme or focus, plus a one-page vita. Proposals may be submitted for individual papers or for sessions featuring two or three panelists. Proposals for panels should be submitted as a group by the organizer, along with a short explanation of the unifying theme. In addition, each panel proposal should consist of individual paper descriptions (limited to 300 words in length), names of panelists and their vitae.

Please email your proposals to Jon Vickers, Director of the IU Cinema, at by November 15, 2014. The Symposium Program Committee will evaluate all submissions and notify all candidates of the results by December 15, 2014. We look forward to your proposals, and to celebrating Orson Welles’s 100th Birthday in style.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

CFP: NECSUS journal on Vintage

NECSUS, The European Journal of Media Studies, has announced the next topic, "Vintage," for its Autumn 2015 edition

Abstracts of 300 words, 3-5 bibliographic references, and a short biography of 100 words due by 10 October 2014.   On the basis of selected abstracts writers will be invited to submit full manuscripts (5000-7000 words) which will subsequently go through a blind peer review process.

Few issues are as pertinent today as the relationship between old and new, past and present, obsolescence and progress. Paradoxically, as the obsession with the new in contemporary society intensifies, so too does our interest in older technologies, styles, and artefacts. Advertising and marketing in particular have tapped into the selling potential of nostalgia and references to the past permeate just about every cultural domain from film, television, art, and music, to fashion, food, tourism, and interior design. Terms such as ‘retro’ and ‘vintage’ have become commonplace, both frequent appendages to item searches on Ebay and other shopping sites/outlets. How do we define and distinguish these terms, and how might they be unpacked to shed light on the processes by which history is evaluated, appropriated, and consumed?

Unlike retro and nostalgia, vintage has received little critical attention despite its ubiquity in the fields of fashion and furniture. The complexity of the term derives from its relationship to taste and value and rituals of acquisition and exchange. Situated somewhere between retro irony and antique sobriety, vintage carries a host of connotations that shift in relation to contextual and historical markers. From the ragpickers of flea markets and car boot sales to the affluent consumers of highly-priced rarities, vintage traverses disparate spaces, identities, and practices, encompassing both mainstream and alternative attitudes and ethics.

A host of historical and philosophical commentators, from Benjamin to Baudrillard, have grappled with our relationship to history through modes of representation and ways of seeing. Whilst for Benjamin an engagement with the past can mean redemption in the present, Baudrillard sees our cultural obsession with history as emptied of meaning – a reflection of the postmodernist decline of the real. How to consolidate these different positions within a theory of vintage? What can a study of vintage with its shifting meanings, its complications and contradictions, reveal about our attachment to the past and its significance in the present? What is the relationship between vintage and practices of remembering, both personal and collective, and how might these practices be activated in ways that go beyond consumerism? Notable here are recent studies of media and nostalgia – Amy Holdsworth’s Television, Memory and Nostalgia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), Lucas Hilderbrand’s Inherent Vice: Bootleg Histories of Videotape and Copyright (Duke University Press, 2009), and Katharina Niemeyer’s edited collection Media and Nostalgia: Yearning for the Past, Present and Future (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). How do we negotiate the fine line between nostalgic reification (Baudrillard) and critical interrogation (Benjamin)? How does vintage connect with popular culture and what Simon Reynolds has termed ‘retromania’ in his book Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past (Faber & Faber, 2011)?

This NECSUS special section aims to answer some of these questions, building a theory of vintage that stretches across different media. It will bring together a wide range of new perspectives on and critical approaches to the theme of vintage, opening up the topic to related fields of enquiry and making connections across disciplines and theoretical paradigms.

A full call and submission details available at the journal's website.

Monday, September 22, 2014

CFP: Film Festival Origins and Trajectories

Special issue of the peer-reviewed journal New Review of Film and Television Studies
Guest-edited by Lydia Papadimitriou and Jeffrey Ruoff

Oct. 1, 2014 deadline for submission of proposals
(For accepted proposals, the deadline for completed 6,000-9,000 word essays is December 15, 2014.)

This special issue of NRFTS explores the genesis of festivals, in different countries, to trace the distances festivals have travelled from their origins, how changes are sometimes intentional and at other times the results of socio-political and economic transformations. The guest editors are interested in proposals that break new historical, methodological, and theoretical grounds and, with certain regions already represented in the issue, are especially interested in proposals about festivals in Latin America, underrepresented areas of Asia, as well as North Africa and the Middle East.

Email an abstract of 100-200 words and a 50-word bio to  and no later than Oct. 1, 2014.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Documentary Aestheticization

There's a broader debate to be had with the aestheticization of documentary subjects, but I would like to visit the documentaries that signal themselves as aestheticizing, poetic, or otherwise formally rigorous approaches to nonfiction. These, I feel, invite the critique, often on the ground that aestheticized documentary not only resists documentary's Griersonian mission but actively perverts it.

Tom Rosten, for instance, remarks of Oxyana:
The problem arises largely because Oxyana is depicting serious social problems (poverty, drug addiction). And the aestheticization of real social issues can feel like documentary voyeurism or slumming. Some of the more wretched cases (a guy with clear mental impairment) reminded me of fetishistic quality that I’ve seen in the films of Harmony Korine and Larry Clark.
I've not yet seen Oxyana, so let me the example of Detropia. In some ways the film is purposive in its aestheticizing treatment, since one response to postindustrial decline in Detroit has been to reclaim the ruin as a positive. And yet, there is potentially something problematic in ruin porn, both ethically and politically. I happen to like Detropia, since I think it's engaged on more public sphere matters than ruin porn, whereas I gather the film has garnered some negative criticism among Detroiters. Still, I can see how the desire to hold the postindustrial as a perfect aesthetic object can get in the way of more productive engagement with community and social space.

But stepping back from the debate, I find myself interrogating the aestheticization effect. Take Nikolas Geyrhalter's Our Daily Bread (2005), a documentary about the agriculture industry. It's almost a textbook example of a poetic documentary, eschewing exposition, voiceover, and testimony in favor of static, well composed shots of plants, animals, and agri-industrial processes.

Like in this shot: the pigs are being taken to slaughter in a semi-industrial manner, yet the film shoots them in a formal, symmetrical composition and the long take lingers to invite our contemplation of them just as art cinema might a landscape or cityscape. 

And, yet, phenomologically, the spectator does not mistake the aestheticizing treatment for the qualities of the subject matter itself. The frisson of Our Daily Bread is the spectator by and large does not want to see the soulless mechanics of agribusiness as beautiful. We're aware that the reality is not pretty, and aestheticization in fact opens up in that gap the vantage of knowledge and institutional critique. 

I am not holding up the poetic documentary as an inherently superior format in this respect. There are certain disadvantages vis-a-vis issue documentary, just as there are some advantages. But I wish to think more about how spectatorial structures are actually operating in them.