CFP: Film, Benjamin, and Debt/Guilt panel (M/MLA 5/15, 11/8-11, 2012)

full name / name of organization: 
Paul Petrovic, Film I Panel at the Midwest Modern Language Association
contact email: 

The 54th Annual M/MLA Convention will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza from November 8-11, 2012. The 2012 informal convention theme is "Debt."

In Walter Benjamin's Selected Writings, concepts of debt are irreducible from those of guilt and (spiritual) salvation. These concepts are informed by Benjamin's investment in capitalist-economic, spiritual, and psychological interests. This panel seeks papers that utilize Benjamin's writings on debt/guilt in conjunction with Hollywood, independent, and international film, from Capra to the Dardenne Brothers. How do filmmakers transform ideas of debt/guilt cinematically? What are the ethics of representation when a film documents rampant material wealth without any expression of debt/guilt? How are contemporary films, either Hollywood, independent, or international, reconciling values of material debt/guilt, especially in a "post-9/11 world"? New interpretations of classic cinema or non-mainstream films are both equally welcome. Similarly, while usage of Benjamin is encouraged, topics which explores these issues from any sort of theoretical framework are welcome.

Please send 250-word abstracts by May 15 to Paul Petrovic, Northern Illinois University,