Backward Glances: Mediating Resistance

deadline for submissions: 
June 15, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Northwestern University Screen Cultures Graduate Student Association

Backward Glances 2017: Mediating Resistance

The Screen Cultures Graduate Student Conference

Department of Radio/Television/Film, Northwestern University

September 29 & 30, 2017

Keynote Speakers: Professors Mary Celeste Kearney and Kara Keeling

Submission Deadline: June 15, 2017

In our tumultuous political landscape of “fake news” and reality TV presidents, the urgency of critically engaged media scholarship has never been greater. At a time in which many are experiencing a sense of traumatic upheaval, such work has the potential not only to enlighten the workings of media in our present moment, but to trace the history of media’s relationship to movements of resistance, rebellion, and radical change.

To this end, the theme of this year’s Backward Glances, Northwestern’s biennial graduate student media and historiography conference, is Mediating Resistance. We invite scholars to explore the role of resistance in media as well as the role of media in resistance, in historical and contemporary contexts.

Resistance manifests in forms ranging from political and activist content to formal and aesthetic innovation. These multiple inflections of resistance inform a number of interrelated questions we aim to address: What role do media play in shifting norms, broadening access to discourse, or even overthrowing regimes? How have marginalized communities used media to resist violence or imagine alternative modes of being? Alternately, how have hegemonic institutions used media to instigate violence or impose constructions of reality? In what ways are media implicated in the deepening of cultural divisions and the forms of social or political resistance they engender? As scholars, how might we engage resistant methodologies? What constitutes a “resistant reading” of a media text? What types of formal or aesthetic innovations resist norms of media-making or media consumption?

Further topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Alternative archives

  • Media literacy and pedagogy

  • (Re)appropriation of media texts

  • Resistant spectatorship practices

  • Feminist, queer, and transgender media

  • Racial difference, racialized identities, and racism

  • Avant-garde movements

  • Postcolonial, revolutionary, and state media

  • Protest music

  • Taste and respectability politics

  • Circuit-bending

  • Affect and embodiment

  • Conspiracy theories

  • Media activism/hacktivism/slacktivism

  • Political campaigns

  • Crowdfunding, crowdsourcing

We invite scholarship from a broad range of disciplinary approaches, such as gender and sexuality studies; critical race studies; game studies; new media studies; postcolonial studies; comparative literature; historiography; film and television studies; disability studies; communications; and performance studies. Northwestern faculty will serve as respondents for graduate student panels.

Our keynote speakers will be Mary Celeste Kearney and Kara Keeling. Professor Kearney is Associate Professor of Film, Television, and Theatre and Director of the Gender Studies Program at the University of Notre Dame. Her research focuses primarily on gender, youth, and media culture. She is the author of Girls Make Media, as well as editor of The Gender and Media Reader and Mediated Girlhoods: New Explorations of Girls' Media Culture. Her most recent book, Gender and Rock, will be published in August 2017 by Oxford University Press. She is currently completing research for her second monograph, From Nancy Drew to Gidget: The First Wave of Teen-Girl Media, and editing the new book series Routledge Research in Gender, Sexuality, and Media. Her essay, "Sparkle: Luminosity and Post-Girl Power Media," (Continuum 29.2) won the 2016 Katherine Singer Kovács Essay Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

Professor Keeling is Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the School of Cinematic Arts and of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Keeling works in the areas of Film and Media Studies, Black Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Critical Theory, and Cultural Studies. Keeling’s book, The Witch's Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense, explores the role of cinematic images in the construction and maintenance of hegemonic conceptions of the world and interrogates the complex relationships between cinematic visibility, exploitation, and the labor required to create and maintain alternative organizations of social life. Keeling is co-editor (with Josh Kun) of Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies and (with Colin MacCabe and Cornel West) of a selection of writings by the late James A. Snead entitled European Pedigrees/ African Contagions: Racist Traces and Other Writing. Keeling’s most recent book manuscript, tentatively entitled Queer Times, Black Futures, is under contract with New York University Press.

Please send an abstract (up to 300 words) to backwardglancesconference@gmail.com by June 15, 2017. Participants will be notified by mid-July. More information about the conference can be found at www.backwardglancesconference.wordpress.com.