CFP: Society for Cinema & Media Studies, Caucus on Class

by E Wayne Ross on July 14, 2005


Society for Cinema and Media Studies
March 2-5, 2006
Vancouver, Canada

The SCMS Caucus on Class is sponsoring the following calls for papers. Please send 150-word proposals, plus brief bibliography and bio statement, to the listed contact person by August 20, 2005.

“The Canadian Imaginary: Paradise in the North or Cheap Labor Market?” This panel examines the place of Vancouver and other Canadian filmmaking centers in terms of their relationship to Hollywood television and film production over the past decade. Vancouver, where The X Files, The Sopranos, and many other television series have been filmed has been seen as a cheap location stand-in for more expensive, because more union-based, shooting in the United States, particularly in New York. Toronto, the other major Canadian filmmaking city, has seen a wholesale migration of Hollywood production in the wake of the recent Screen Actors Guild strike by actors in commercials. The panel would also look at, from the Canadian perspective, the effect of these industry trends on the heavily government financed Canadian independent scene both in film and on Canadian television. The panel also explores the Hollywood/Canadian relationship in terms of screen image. What is the effect on the concept of the veracity of location shooting when “Vancouver” substitutes for “America,” and, on the Canadian side, what does it mean to have Canadian locations effaced and presented as literally a part of the U.S.?
CONTACT: Dennis Broe –

“Materialism and Cinema”
The popularity of Deleuze in cinema studies is coincident with a philosophical return in the field to phenomenology, especially as inspired by Heidegger. Papers are sought which instead examine the application of materialist philosophy to the screen. What might a materialist theory of film look like and signify in the age of transnational capitalism? How would it differ from the cognitivist approaches of Bordwell and of Anderson, the analytic approaches of Allen, Smith, and Wartenberg, and the aestheticist approaches of Carroll and of Plantinga? How might it negotiate the Althusserian approaches of the 1960s-70s?
CONTACT: Terri Ginsberg –

“Argentine and Latin American Post-Crisis Cinema: From Memories of Underdevelopment to Strategies of Revolt” The economic crisis that nearly bankrupted Argentina also coincided with the emergence of Argentine cinema as a major force in world filmmaking. This panel will examine that cinema and its relationship with the crisis as well as expanding to note the ways in which an entire block of Latin American countries, including Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil and Ecuador, are now governed by leaders seeking different solutions to neoliberal expansionism. What impact has this had on the cinema and other forms of media expression in the region? In what ways have these developments in Argentina and in other countries influenced one another and bolstered critical film and media making in the region?
CONTACT: Susan Ryan –

“The Crisis of Academic Labor, Part V: Structural Determinants and Organized Responses to the New McCarthyism” This workshop explores the economic and political grounds of the “New McCarthyism” facing academia and taking the form of highly organized campaigns against academic freedom by conservative think tanks and philanthropies. Presentations are invited which analyze the systemic
structural determinants of these phenomena and their affects on film and media studies, both in terms of institutional and ideological reaction and critical response and resistance.
CONTACT: Kelly Dolak –

“The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Cell Phone: Recent Chinese and East Asian Cinema and the Socialist-Capitalist Tradition”
The Chinese transition from a socialist to a market economy has effected rapid changes in the country in the last 20 years and exacerbated contradictions that were already pronounced in the Chinese system. This panel examines the ways in which Chinese filmmakers have mapped those contradictions in the last decade as they comment wryly on the process of directly overlaying a socialist propaganda model with a market propaganda model. The panel would look at how filmmakers are addressing these contradictions both in documentary and fiction films, as in the fiction work of filmmakers such as Jia Zhangke (The World) and the documentary work of Wang Bing, whose 14-hour chronicle of the transformation of a Chinese town, West of the Rails, reworks the concept of documentary.
CONTACT: Pat Keeton –

“Filling the Void: How Docs, Blogs, Zines, and Other Online Media Are
Redefining Journalism”
While mainstream media grows more economically consolidated and politically conservative, social issue documentaries like Fahrenheit 9/11 and Supersize Me have achieved surprising box office success and received extensive critical attention. Other critical documentaries (e.g. Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War) have reached audiences through links to progressive political organizations. This panel seeks papers exploring the ways in which contemporary documentaries-as well as other forms of alternative, online distribution (websites, blogs, online journals, etc.) and exhibition venues-are explicitly engaging political discourse. How has the “new journalism” influenced documentary technique and challenged that of corporate and mainstream media? How are online distribution and alternative exhibition venues related to the politics of such films/videos? Are there significant differences from political documentary strategies of the 1930s and 1960s?
CONTACT: Christopher Sharrett –

“Class Issues in Reality Television”
The rising popularity of reality television has transformed television programming, yet important questions remain about the genre’s representation of class as well as its influence on modes of production in the television industry. Papers are sought which explore the ideological dimensions of this televisual genre. Are reality shows more “democratic” because “real” people volunteer to take part? How might a class analysis broaden our understanding of shows like Wife Swap and The Apprentice? What are the implications for labor relations in the industry and for other televisual genres as editors come increasingly to serve as producers, and producers as writers?
CONTACT: Yasmin Nair –