CFP: Four Graduate Conferences

Labyrinths: Navigating Complexity Across the Humanities
Deadline: December 1st.
Expanding Cinema: Spatial Dimensions of Film Exhibition, Aesthetics, and Theory
Deadline: December 10.
Cinema and Television: A Graduate Colloquium
Deadline: December 15.
Context and Meaning XII: Making and Breaking Identity
Deadline: December 3.

Labyrinths: Navigating Complexity Across the Humanities
Hosted by the English Graduate Student Association
McGill University, Montreal, QC
February 15-17, 2013

From ancient Greek mythology to cubism, jazz music, and the contemporary puzzle film, labyrinths serve as images for exploring intellectual, affective, and material complexity. This conference will investigate labyrinths from diverse cultural, aesthetic, and theoretical perspectives. Whether literal or figurative, labyrinths are markers of intricacy that can evoke feelings of panic, bewilderment, and failure, or present opportunities for adventure and problem-solving. You might consider the procedural labyrinths that we encounter daily (mass media, bureaucracy, academia), as well as the spatial labyrinths that we inhabit (libraries, hotels, department stores, casinos). This conference asks: How has our understanding of labyrinths as artistic symbols and social realities changed over time? What kinds of human and nonhuman relationships do they mobilize in different contexts? How do we navigate complexity, dead ends, and repetition, in different fields of study?

We invite submissions for individual presentations, panels, and creative projects addressing the concept of labyrinths from any disciplinary perspective. Topics include, but are not limited to:
  1. labyrinths in literature, performance, film, television, music
  2. urban/rural planning, urban/rural spaces, architecture
  3. diaspora, migration, globalization, crowds
  4. maps, navigation, critical cartography
  5. underworlds, vaults, catacombs, sewers
  6. detective plots, espionage, puzzle narratives, trickery
  7. systems, rhizomes, networks
  8. games, comics, transmedia stories
  9. digital labyrinths, big data, social media
  10. archives, manuscripts, engravings
  11. complex temporalities, dreamspaces, distorted realities
  12. lostness/confusion; enlightenment/achievement
  13. stasis, repetition, cycles, aporias
Please send your 150-word abstract, along with a brief bio, to labyrinths2013@gmail.com by December 1st.

Expanding Cinema: Spatial Dimensions of Film Exhibition, Aesthetics, and Theory
A Conference at Yale University
New Haven, CT
February 15-16, 2013

Keynote speaker: Giuliana Bruno (Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard University)

Closing remarks by Francesco Casetti (Professor of Film Studies, Yale University)

This conference will take a fresh look at cinema’s expansion beyond its traditional theatrical setting and classical style. Since the 1980s, technological developments and changes in the economics of film distribution have eroded classical models of film spectatorship, and in recent decades this trend has only picked up speed. Contemporary viewers encounter cinema across a variegated landscape; they are exposed to moving images in taxis, on portable devices, in art galleries, and as part of large-scale public artworks. Our moving image culture has broken significantly with the ‘classical’ mode that most scholars agree dominated motion picture production between the 1920s and 1970s.

Yet at the same time, alternative and experimental filmmaking and exhibition practices have kept ‘non-classical’ spectatorship in constant play. Throughout the 20th century, a diverse array of filmmakers, artists, and exhibition venues have experimented with ‘expanded’ notions of cinema: Lazlo Moholy-Nagy’s imagined three-dimensional cinema, Ken Jacobs’s projector-based performances, and Andy Warhol’s informal screenings in the Factory are just a few examples. Arguably, exhibition space is a formal feature of these works. Analyzing such experimental practices often requires we attend not only to film texts, but also to the audiences and exhibition environments that structured the cinematic event.

Because artists and filmmakers often propose unique and carefully-considered relationships between moving images and their spatial environments, studying such practices can help us better theorize the spatial dimensions of cinema. Experimental exhibition practices could even help us historicize the many possible spaces and publics that coalesce around moving images today. Moreover, a consideration of ‘space’ as an aesthetic feature of cinema (in terms of on-screen space, production space, and exhibition space) could help us devise means of close-reading that augment the textual and linguistic models that long dominated film analysis.

This conference doesn’t restrict itself solely to experimental cinema; we invite any project that aims to engage theoretically with the spatial dimensions of cinema as it expands beyond its traditional theatrical environment and classical forms. We hope that such discussions can help conference participants entertain an expanded, flexible account of film spectatorship – the psychic interplay between film text, exhibition situation, and viewer.

Topics for presentations include, but are not limited to:

  • – Experimental film and alternative exhibition venues
  • – Expanded cinema (light shows, projector-based performance, etc.)
  • – Cinema in the museum and art gallery
  • – The moving image in public space, from public art to advertising and surveillance
  • – The materiality of film exhibition (projector, celluloid, screen)
  • – Cinema’s life on television and the internet
  • – Relationships between early cinema, the avant-garde, and “post-cinema”
  • – Spatial elements of film form and filmmaking practice
  • – Critical practice as an extension of cinema (video blogs, video essays, etc.)
  • – Technological change and the emergence of new forms and genres

We seek papers that engage theoretically or historically with cinema’s expanded forms, both in the past and today. Please send an abstract of 200-300 words to conference co-chairs Mal Ahern, Luca Peretti, and Andrey Tolstoy at expandingcinema@gmail.com by December 10, 2012. Acceptances will be sent out by December 20, 2012.

Cinema and Television: A Graduate Colloquium
Sponsored by the Cinema Studies Graduate Student Union
University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
February 8 & 9, 2013

A recent New York Times article had the headline “Movies Try to Escape Cultural Irrelevance” in response to Seth MacFarlane being announced as the host of the 2013 Oscars. Both this article and the choice of host are indicative of how the relationship between cinema and television has begun to change. With television now being regarded both artistically and critically, our understanding of this medium continues to rapidly change, necessitating a re-evaluation. Rather than creating a forum for outlining the merits and disadvantages of each medium we intend to explore the mutually constitutive relationship between these two symbiotic media, we hope to do so from diversity of critical avenues, ranging from theory and aesthetics to industry, culture, and beyond.

This conference asks: Can one understand television as simply an extension of the filmic medium or is it developing its own medium specificity? What cinematic concerns are transferred onto television? How do changes in spectatorship practices alter our relation to the medium? Is television more like its visual predecessor cinema or its broadcast predecessor radio? How have certain types or genres of cinema been altered when taken up within television? Are we in an age of television whereas previous generations have been in an age of cinema? And is “the age of television” drawing to an end with the rise of youtube culture?

Possible discussion topics include:

  • Relationships between the film and television industries
  • Showrunners and auteurism in television
  • TV movies, mini-series, short films
  • spectatorship in television and cinema
  • film to television/television to film adaptations
  • technology struggles, developments and 3D
  • proto-film and television media
  • big screens and small screens
  • genre transformation across media
  • cinematic responses to television and televisual responses to cinema
  • current thematic and stylistic trends in TV and cinema
  • the boundaries, or lack thereof, between cinema and TV in the digital era
  • beyond broadcast

Please submit a 300 word proposal by December 15th, 2012 to: csgsu2013@gmail.com Selected papers will be contacted by January 5th, 2013.

Context and Meaning XII: Making and Breaking Identity
Graduate Visual Culture Association
Department of Art, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON
February 1st – 2nd, 2013

The twelfth annual Context and Meaning conference will be taking place on Friday, February 1st and Saturday, February 2nd, 2013, hosted by the Graduate Visual Culture Association of Queen’s University.

This year’s theme is Making and Breaking Identity. We invite graduate students, as well as students who have completed their studies within the last year, to submit proposals for papers on issues surrounding the construction and deconstruction of identity through visual culture. We are interested in exploring personal and collective identities, including ideas of nationhood, religion, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, as well as more specific subcultures and issues that inform the way individuals identify themselves or are identified by others. How are identities confirmed, perpetuated or challenged through various types of visual culture? How do academics, curators, and conservators impact the ways in which we understand the individual identities of artists and the communal identities of broader cultural groups?

This conference is open to both historical and contemporary topics, and may relate to images considered “fine art” as well as objects that we encounter every day. We welcome papers from a variety of disciplines, including those fields in the humanities and the sciences that deal with the study of visual material and its cultural contexts.

The deadline for the submission of proposals is Monday, December 3, 2012. Conference speakers will be selected by a blind jury, composed of current graduate students, and successful applicants will be notified by Monday, December 17th, 2012. At the conference, each presenter will be allotted twenty minutes to deliver his or her paper, with a ten-minute discussion period to follow. If you are interested in speaking at Context and Meaning XII, please email an abstract of no more than 300 words, together with a brief letter of introduction, to gvca@queensu.ca. Submissions for thematic panels of three papers are also welcome; please follow the same guidelines for the three individual papers, and accompany them with a 250-word abstract outlining the theme of your panel.

Please note that in place of a keynote speaker this year, we have invited both an early-career scholar and a well-established professor to speak about establishing a professional identity within academia. This session will facilitate an informal and constructive discussion about an often overlooked and vital aspect of our professional development.

If you have any questions concerning the conference, please contact us at gvca@queensu.ca.