Call for Papers: & Media

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    Jul 1, 2016

    Film & Media Graduate Student Conference, University of California, Berkeley

    Conference Date: September 23–24th 2016

    Location: University of California, Berkeley

    Paper proposals due June 30th, 2016.

    With the publication of his classic collection of essays in 1958, André Bazin posed the deceptively simple question, “What is cinema?” A similar inquiry has begun to circle around the concept of “media” as film organizations, cinema departments, and conferences across the country have made efforts in the last decade to include the label “Media” in their titles. Often an add­on to cinema and television, media seems to be a catch­all for everything else. Is “& Media,” then, an afterthought—an effort to stay relevant as film becomes less dominant? Operating from the principle that the simplest questions are usually the most difficult to answer, this conference invites papers addressing the conceptualization of “media.” 

    Increasingly, “& Media” is becoming the center of scholarly inquiry within cinema studies. This recentering of the discipline has opened up new interdisciplinary approaches from science and technology studies, mass communications, geography, and across the humanities and social sciences. While some scholars insist on a micro­level investment in media materiality, others favor an expansion to definitions as broad as nature itself. Such conceptual oppositions invite a broad range of questions about the object(s) at hand. Is the medium the message? Are media best understood as infrastructure? Are they mediating environments, or are they events, technologies, or universal storage carriers? What new insights emerge when we consider film as part of a media ecology? What does media look like when it is theorized from Lagos or La Paz? What benefits do we get from returning to a medium­specific methodology? What is included or excluded from the term “media”? In this expanding field, why does “film” persist? And how do we account for media that were once considered new, such as television and radio?

    This conference will explore how we understand media/mediums and how that understanding shapes and is shaped by overlapping conceptual frameworks, including (but not limited to) history, memory, place, and politics. We encourage both theoretical and historical projects that deal with media and their (lack of) specificity, research that addresses media comparatively, as well as papers that theorize the concept of media/the medium from the global south.

    Potential topics for papers might include:

    ­ Theories of mediums/media

    ­ Media theory from the global south

    ­ Questions around media specificity

    ­ Comparative media

    ­ Media temporalities

    ­ Media as infrastructure

    ­ Adaptations across media

    ­ Intermediality

    ­ Media as technology

    ­ Appropriated media

    ­ The materiality of media

    ­ Media and the environment

    We welcome papers from all disciplinary backgrounds and encourage scholarship grounded in area studies. Although this is a graduate student conference, we invite lecturers, adjuncts, and other non­tenure­track faculty to apply. To submit, please send an abstract of 200–300 words along with a brief biographical statement to Jennifer Blaylock, Alex Bush, and Lisa Jacobson at​ by July 7th, 2016.​