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  • CFP: What’s Queer in Italian Film History?

    What’s Queer in Italian Film History?
    Looking for Non-normative Representations from the Silent Era to the 1960s

    Download the CFP

    Deadline: 20 December 2019

    From the early 1990s onward, the theoretical reflection on gender
    identities and non-binary sexualities (Butler 1990; Sedgwick 1990;
    Koyama 2003) has increasingly challenged the assumption of hegemonic
    paradigms of heteronormativity as totalizing categories of gender
    identities and sexualities. In the last few years, critiques of
    heteronormativity have moved forward from the analysis of contemporary
    cultural products to the proposal of new paths of historical inquiry,
    which are gaining currency under the label of “queer historicism”
    (McCabe 2005).

    In this context, Italian cinema historiography—which only recently has
    been able to incorporate the perspectives of feminist film studies
    (Cardone 2009; Pravadelli 2012; Hipkins 2016; Dall’Asta 2008)—has
    remained so far reluctant to apply transfeminist (Koyama 2001) and queer
    approaches to the representation of gender and sexuality. And yet,
    destabilizing forms of gender representation and non-normative modes of
    reception can be found through the history of Italian cinema since its
    origins. From Fregoli and the farcical performances of comedians like
    André Deed (Cretinetti), Raymond Frau (Kri Kri) and Gigetta Morano, to a
    unique film of its kind like /Filibus /(1915), the use of crossdressing
    to display unconventional gender roles was more than familiar to Italian
    film audiences. The popular “forzuti” of the 1910s introduced a model of
    a hypertrophic (although basically asexual) virility that stimulated
    both male and female gazes for generations, well beyond the 1960s (Dyer
    1997). The popular genres that flourished in the 1950s, such as the
    spaghetti westerns and horrors, have nurtured the fantasies of
    international queer audiences with images of duels imbued with
    homosexual desire, rebellious dancing witches and ambiguous vampire
    beauties. The 1950s and 1960s saw film theatres become meeting and
    cruising sites for queer communities, and this not just in big cities
    like Rome, Milan and Florence, but also in many provincial towns (Pini
    2011). More generally—and similarly to the experience of other queer
    audiences living in different geographical and historical contexts
    (Russo 1981; Doty 1993; Dyer 2001)—the ritual of collective film
    consumption offered non-normative subjectivities an opportunity to
    develop and express original forms of spectatorship and cinephilia
    (Santi 1954). Detecting and collecting the feeble traces of such
    ephemeral experiences is a critical task for the methodology of queer
    archiving (Przybylo and Cooper 2014).

    Based on these premises, this special issue of /Immagine /aims to assess
    the viability and productivity of a queer approach to the archive of
    Italian film history, from the origins to the 1960s, taking a chance to
    discover evidences that can trouble the established picture provided by
    traditional male and heteronormative accounts. The ambition is to
    contribute to the methodological reflections inspired by queer
    historicism, keeping in mind that queer theory is obviously in dialogue
    with both postcolonial and intersectional approaches to gender,
    sexuality, class and ethnicity (Dominguez-Ruvalcaba 2016; Giuliani
    2017). In particular, a queer approach to Italian film history
    challenges static notions of national cinema, encouraging the adoption
    of transnational and transcultural perspectives (Schoonover and Galt, 2017).

    We welcome methodological reflections that interrogate the criticalities
    of queer historicism, and specifically of the notion of “queer
    anachronism” (Rohy 2017): Is it reasonable to detect queerness in films
    that were produced at a time when non-binary subjects did not identify
    as queer yet? How can queer historicism integrate and/or dialogue with
    other approaches, such as those developed in the related fields of
    feminist, gay and lesbian film historiographies (Gledhill and Knight
    2015; Benshoff e Griffin 2006; Giori 2017)? How can it help understand
    certain eccentric projects, born outside of the mainstream of Italian
    film styles, such as those developed by Aldo Braibanti and Carmelo Bene?
    And finally, to paraphrase Heather Love’s reflections (2007), what is
    the meaning for us, today, of a history in which queerness and isolated
    queer figures emerged from a film culture that fostered homophobia and
    stigmatized queer bodies?

    Specific topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

    * Border-crossing heteronormative conventions in popular genres

    * Queering the Cult: subcultural practices and fandom inspired by
    actors and stars

    * Home movies

    * Queer performances: Gender bending, drag and masquerade

    * Queer temporalities: Anachronisms, queer historicism, queer
    archives, anti-futurity

    * Eccentric film styles and projects

    * Film theaters as cruising sites

    * Queer film criticism

    * Transnational and transcultural dialogism

    * Italian /auteur/cinema and the queer gaze

    * Documentaries and non normative sexuality

    * Melodrama, sexuality/asexuality and romance

    * Archiving the history of queer cinema and spectatorship

    * Disability and queerness

    Abstracts, either in Italian or English (max. 250 words), will have to
    be submitted no later than 20 December 2019 to:

    dmissero@brookes.ac.uk <mailto:dmissero@brookes.ac.uk>

    micaela.veronesi@gmail.com <mailto:micaela.veronesi@gmail.com>

    Notification of acceptance by 7 January 2020.

    Articles (5-6,000 words max.) can be submitted in Italian or English, by
    14 June 2020.

    Final publication is expected by December 2020, after the conclusion of
    a double bind peer review process.

  • CFP: That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore: A Critical exploration of The Joker

    That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore: A Critical exploration of "The Joker"

    "The Joker" (Phillips, 2019) has immediately become both a celebrated and
    derided film and media text: opening up a sea of reviews,
    interpretations, and critical responses. The mainstream media has poured
    over it, fans and anti-fans have communed around it, and academics have
    taken up polar positions on its messages, ideologies, and aesthetics.
    The film has broken opening weekend box office records while its lead
    star, Joaquin Phoenix, has been both chastised during interviews and
    openly hostile to the type of effects-driven question he has been set.

    "The Joker" arrives at a time of arguably unprecedented social malaise:
    it speaks to the culture of loneliness, toxic masculinity, the crisis in
    whiteness, the break down in social networks, the expanding gap between
    rich and poor, and to the anger and rage that has entered discourse more
    broadly. It does this in ways which provokes and angers some and moves

    In this proposed Special Edition, we seek to explore the sightlines and
    subtexts, the affective shapes, corrosive ideologies and damning
    messages of this film. Papers can address the following indicative
    topics but should also navigate their own course:

    * Nostalgia
    * Loneliness
    * Whiteness
    * Perversion
    * Violence and effects
    * Environmental textures
    * Social class
    * Dysfunction
    * Bad mothers
    * Reproduction
    * Power elites
    * Family
    * Space and place
    * Waste and decay
    * Mental health
    * Genre
    * Tragedy and comedy
    * Memory
    * Doppelganger
    * Nihilism
    * Race and ethnicity
    * Masculinity – failed, toxic, critical
    * Hauntology
    * The city
    * Surveillance
    * Networks
    * Allusion and quotation
    * Performance
    * Movement
    * Sound design
    * Set design
    * Affect
    * Costume
    * Celebrity
    * Transmedia
    * Fandom
    * Histories of The Joker

    Abstracts of 250 words to Sean Redmond by November 1st 2019:
    s.redmond@deakin.edu.au <mailto:s.redmond@deakin.edu.au>

  • CFP: Retuning the Screen. Sound methods and the Aural Dimension of Cinema & Media History

    Retuning the Screen.
    Sound Methods and the Aural Dimension of Film & Media History

    XXVII International Film and Media Studies Conference
    March 26th – 28th 2020, University of Udine
    Gorizia, Italy

    More than twenty years have passed since Rick Altman famously proclaimed
    sound studies “a field whose time has come" (1999), magnifying a then
    growing body in film scholarship: the research interests he and his
    colleagues have systematically pursued since the early eighties, at the
    Iowa University. Altman's statement helped in unravelling an
    interdisciplinary undercurrent in American, European and non-English
    speaking film scholarship - Michel Chion’s widely influential works were
    published approximately at the same time.

    As Michele Hilmes later stated, the sound has been an “always emerging
    and never emerged” area of interest, “doomed to a position on the
    margins of the various fields of scholarship, whispering unobtrusively
    in the background while the main action occurs elsewhere” (Hilmes 2005:
    249). Nevertheless, Sound Studies have progressively become an
    internationally recognised (and sometimes criticised: Feld 2015)
    tendency since the early 2000s, redeeming aurality from its
    ever-marginal position and foregrounding it as an area of inquiry in its
    own right.

    Whereas this renewed interest did encourage explorations on previously
    neglected aspects of film and videosound (Birtwistle 2010; Rogers 2014;
    Iannotta 2018)., scholars interested in aurality only occasionally dwelt
    on cinema and visual media: however, they contributed to fresh
    perspectives and angles. Think at the researches on acoustic
    architecture of movie theatres and film studios (Thompson 2002; Meandri
    2016) or at the studies on the relation between art-film and urban
    spaces and media/soundscapes (Birdsall 2012), or on other sonic artistic
    expressions (Halliday 2013).

    This year the FilmForum conference aims at enhancing the emergence and
    consolidation of these aurally oriented perspectives, as innovative
    entry points in film and media theory and history at large. As Jonathan
    Sterne has argued, to think sonically does not so much imply sound as an
    exclusive object of interest. Instead, it outlines an alternative path
    to be pursued through history, a different mapping of the same
    territory, a distinct epistemological position (Sterne 2003; 2012).
    Following this approach, we are not interested in exploring the aural
    “segment” of audiovisual texts (i.e. the soundtrack) for their
    expressive and artistic significance. Neither we are exclusively
    concerned with “audio” and technologically mediated sound in itself.
    Instead, our general objective is to understand how the theoretical
    concepts and methods developed to investigate aurality could reframe
    cinema and visual media as research objects.

    Moving from these general premises, we will primarily focus on the
    following areas of interest.

    - Aural epistemologies and metaphors of the audition. Albeit mostly
    visually biased, film and media theory has always made use of sonically
    inspired terms and concepts far beyond their literal meaning. Words such
    as “noise” or “voice” may indicate an unwanted element of communication
    and a marker and signifier of social identities and gender differences,
    respectively. The concept of “rhythm” served as a modernist notion to
    interpret the changes in the interfaces between the organic and the
    machinic and with the temporal dimension of cinematography itself (Cowan
    2012). However, recent studies proposed equally aurally and temporally
    inspired neologisms to address the technological specificities of
    contemporary digital media – e.g. Ernst’s "sonicity" (2016). Such
    extensive use of the aural vocabulary raises questions about the
    metaphor of listening as a "constitutive feature of epistemology"
    (Sterne 2012).How did aural figures such as “soundscape” (Schafer 1977),
    "secondary orality” (Ong 1989), or "acousmatic” (Schaeffer 1952; Kane
    2016) contribute to shaping our understanding of the overall media
    experience? Can these terms be critically scrutinised or re-assessed as
    tools for media and film analysis?

    - Cinema and media in/and listening culture.**The notion of
    “auditory/listening culture” is one of the key concepts introduced by
    Sound Studies. Traditionally described as a purely affective and
    eternally archaic sense (Adorno-Eisler 1947), the hearing has been
    recently re-assessed as the result of historical, social and cultural
    construction. Its characteristics may significantly be varying. It
    depends on the "network of practices that communities of listeners
    participate in when they hear relevant features of the auditory world,
    communicate them to others, and pass them on through training” (Kane
    2017). To offer but an example, the shift from “silent” film to
    synchronised sound certainly changed what we expected to hear in a movie
    theatre, but also our set of practices and routines as spectators.
    Professionals in the film industry were suddenly required to become
    acquainted new audile techniques as “technical skills which can be
    developed and used toward instrumental ends” (Sterne 2003). We can argue
    the same for other stages and aspects of film and media history. How did
    cinema and visual media emerge from or react to a given aural culture,
    and how did they contribute to shaping it? To which extent the modern
    and contemporary spectatorship interweave the formation of the modern
    and contemporary listener? Does film culture contribute to cultivating
    our listening practices as well? Which sonic skills can be considered
    representative of the modern and contemporary media culture?

    - Sound archives and archaeology. Retrieving the sounds of the past is
    an ever-challenging task which confronts scholars and historians with a
    wide array of sources. As already stressed (Birdsall 2015, 2017;
    Birdsall –Tkackzyk 2019), a close dialogue with the established field of
    Film Preservation Studies would help in promoting sound archives as a
    distinct object of study. It could foster a systematic reflection on the
    preservation methods, institutions and infrastructures and on the formal
    practices of restoration, exhibition and creative re-use of sonic
    materials. And still, however important, sound recordings alone may
    suffice to fully reconstruct historical soundscape and significance for
    the cultures of the past. Can non-sounding written and/or material
    records (e.g. scripts, physical places, architectural designs) enrich
    our knowledge on the aural dimension of cinema and media? Can the
    research and excavation methods developed in sound and music archaeology
    (see Smith 1999) be fruitfully applied also in film and media history?

    We encourage contributions addressing any of these areas or the
    interrelationships occurring between them. We invite you to send us
    proposals for papers or panels. Proposals should not exceed one page in
    length. Please make sure to attach a short biographical note (10 lines
    max). The deadline for their submission is *DECEMBER 31st 2019*

    A registration fee (160 euros) will be applied. Moreover travel costs
    (tickets, etc.) will not be refunded. On the other hand, we will
    partially cover the costs of your accommodation (2 nights in the best
    accommodation solutions available). Special rates are available for
    additional nights. For more information, please contact us at
    udineconference@gmail.com <mailto:udineconference@gmail.com>.

  • CFP: Stephen King (Horror Studies)

    Reappraising Stephen King (Horror Studies journal special)

    Stephen King is indisputably a major figure in horror. Not only has he
    been a proliferous best-selling author since the 1970s, his name is also
    associated with a number of television and film texts, including a
    number of recent high-profile releases, such as It and The Dark Tower,
    as well as Stranger Things, a series not authored by King but openly
    nostalgic for his work. King’s influence moreover extends beyond horror,
    crossing into other genres and outside of the world of fiction,
    including social commentary (Guns, as well as numerous public
    appearances), genre history and criticism (Danse Macabre), and reading
    and writing practice (On Writing).

    Testimony to King’s significance is the constant popular appetite for
    reflections on his life and work, from Douglas Winter’s The Art of
    Darkness: Stephen King (1986) to Chad Clark’s Tracing the Trails (2018),
    and a number of similar publications in between. Academic work is not
    hard to find either, though it is sometimes constrained by the critical
    ambivalence surrounding King’s name, and has tended to privilege
    specific topics, such as King’s relationship with Hollywood. Tony
    Magistrale has authored, co-authored, and edited a number of books on
    King’s fiction, his films, and his position as “America’s storyteller”
    (2009). Other recent books have addressed King’s film and television
    adaptations (Brown 2018) and the Gothic in King’s work (Sears 2011), and
    some isolated articles exist on specific texts by or associated with
    Stephen King, suggesting continued intellectual interest but only
    scratching the surface of what could be asked in relation to a figure of
    this status.

    The aim of this Horror Studies special is to open up the discussion
    about Stephen King at a time when he seems especially relevant. Selected
    articles will, therefore, present focused arguments that tread new
    ground and pursue new avenues for examining King’s work, influence, and

    Topics may include:

    · King and the critics

    · King as social, cultural, and political commentator

    · King in the age of Trump

    · King, philosophy, and religion

    · King and the politics of conspiracy

    · King and the publishing industry

    · King and storytelling

    · King and screenwriting

    · Authorial presence in King’s work

    · King and collaborative authorship

    · Intertextuality within King

    · King’s crime/mystery/horror hybrids

    · King, the short story, and other formats

    · King and the 19th Century realist novel

    · King’s writing of genre history

    · King as spokesperson for horror

    · King beyond horror

    · The Kings, a family of writers

    Please submit proposals and expressions of interest to Dr Filipa Antunes
    (a.antunes@uea.ac.uk) by 1 November 2019. Full drafts will be expected
    by August 2020.

  • CFP: Doing Women's Film & Television History conference

    There's one week left to submit proposals for the Doing Women's Film &
    Television History conference. See further details below:

    Doing Women’s Film and Television History V: Forming Histories/Histories
    in Formation

    20th-22nd May, 2020, Maynooth University, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland

    Speakers include:
    Kasandra O’Connell: Head of the Irish Film Archive at the Irish Film
    Institute in Dublin City Centre. The Irish Film Archive holds a
    collection that includes over one hundred years of Irish film as well as
    other audiovisual material.
    Kate Murphy (Bournemouth University) and Jeannine Baker (Macquarie
    University) will speak about their collaboration with the BBC on the 100
    Voices that Made the BBC: Pioneering Women which was launched in 2018
    and features a curation of the contributions of women to BBC
    broadcasting. See the project here:
    https://www.bbc.com/historyofthebbc/100-voices/pioneering-women Annie
    Doona, President of Institute of Art, Design and Technology and Chair of
    Screen Ireland
    Ruth Barton, Professor of Film Studies, Trinity College Dublin
    Susan Liddy, co-chair of Women in Film & Television Ireland and lecturer
    at University of Limerick
    Anne O’Brien, lecturer at Maynooth University and author of Women,
    Inequality and Media work (2019)
    Abigail Keating, lecturer at University College Cork and co-founder of
    Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media

    We'll also have a roundtable discussion about women in the film and
    television industry.

    The fifth biennial Doing Women’s Film & Television History conference
    invites proposals from researchers and practitioners engaged in the
    exploration, uncovering, archiving and dissemination of women’s roles in
    film and television, as well as wider media, both in the past and today.
    The theme of this conference - ‘Forming Histories/ Histories in
    Formation’ – aims to foreground issues pertaining to the production,
    curation and archiving of women’s histories in film and television as
    well as the methods for, and approaches to, producing and shaping these
    histories as they form. More particularly, much can be learned from the
    diversity of practices, experiences and narratives of women’s film and
    television history as they pertain to: national, transnational, world
    and global histories; neglected, peripheral or hidden histories;
    organisations such as museums, archives and universities; collectives,
    groups and movements such as #MeToo; local communities and community
    media; emergent forms and platforms; and historical approaches to
    women’s reception of film and television as well as historicising
    current practices and experiences of reception, fandom and consumption.
    This three-day conference casts the net wide so that it can capture a
    range of experiences, practices, industries, nationalities and voices
    that are situated in relation to women and their histories. The
    conference provides a platform for those working in and researching
    film, television and media more generally as well as those invested in
    the production of these histories and narratives of the past and as they
    materialise. We invite papers that can provide added richness to the
    theme of ‘Women in Film & Television,’ and are, in addition, especially
    interested in the following areas:

    International and comparative perspectives on women in film and television
    Histories of women’s creative practice, production and technical work
    and film/cinema and television work more generally in various national,
    regional, or local contexts; transnational film and television;
    migration and diasporas
    Approaches to histories of women’s indigenous production, including
    Third Cinema and grassroots film and television production
    Representations of women in historical film and television
    Female audiences, reception, fandom of film and television
    Considerations of methodological and theoretical approaches to the study
    of women in film and television and their audiences
    Archival research methods and approaches including feminist archiving
    Use of recently established or historically neglected women’s media archives
    Artefacts and ephemera in women’s archives: moving image, photographic
    and digital media, scripts, merchandise, etc. Considerations of how
    gender intersects with race, class, ethnicity, in relation to film and
    television production, reception or representation
    Revisiting production and labour through the lens of #MeToo and
    #TimesUp, including historical formations of, and historicising, such
    Changing meanings of women and womanhood as reflected and shaped by the
    interventions of women in film and television as producers, critics, and

    Teaching women’s film and television history; feminist pedagogies; the
    politics of education and training; women’s experiences of moving from
    education to employment in film and television
    We welcome papers on subjects outside of these areas and that enhance
    the interpretations and meanings of ‘Doing Women’s Film & Television

    Please submit proposals of 250 words along with the paper’s title and
    a 50-word biography. Presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes,
    including clips and images. We welcome pre-constituted panels of three
    to four presenters (with panel title and abstract of 150 words),
    proposals for roundtables or workshops and presentations from
    researchers, practitioners, creatives and industry professionals. 

    Deadline for proposals Oct 11th 2019. Email: dwfthv@gmail.com