SCMS 2020 Panel: Time After Time: Film and Media Studies at the End of Temporality

deadline for submissions: 
August 20, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Koel Banerjee (Carnegie Mellon), Matthew Ellis (Brown University, Rachel Schaff (Ithaca College)
contact email: 

Cinematic, televisual, and cross-media cultural production has passed through the end of history (Fukuyama) only to be cornered by “the end of temporality” (Jameson). Today’s illiberal turn is occasioned by the global crises of neoliberal capitalism and the deregulation of state welfare. Consequently, our present is marked by a global epidemic of nostalgia, one that forces Walter Benjamin’s angel of history to reverse flight. In this redirection to what Zygmunt Bauman calls “retropia,” a backward-looking Utopia, our experience of history is rendered ahistorical. This crisis of temporality is evidenced by the rise of retropic visions across various contemporary media, for example, television series such as The Crown, Call the Midwife, and Stranger Things, or films such as Mamma Mia, Blackkklansman and Green Book, and Hollywood franchise/sequel/remake production.

This mode was described in detail by Jameson as the “nostalgia film” during this period's rise in the mid 1980s, but the question for our present remains whether contemporary cinematic representations of the past are still adequately described by that schema, or if new approaches are required to describe its unraveling. The anachronisms that characterize current historical representations are a symptom of our present moment, one where the past must be stylistically recreated while history is being disavowed, reimagined, or "revised." It is no accident that the proliferation of these audio-visual cultures of nostalgia coincides with the rise of xenophobic nationalisms and authoritarianisms across various national contexts.

As film and media scholars, we now face the urgent task of historicizing our present as well as our pasts. We need to revisit not only the historicity of cultural forms but also interrogate our disciplinary methods of historiographic practice. We are looking for submissions for a panel at SCMS 2020 (April 1-5, Denver, Colorado) on the following dimensions/aspects of film and media historiography and theory:

  • Reconceptualizations of film and media historiography 

  • The ideology of nostalgia films and futuristic imaginings

  • Temporality and historical representation

  • The politicization of time or temporal politics

  • Representing history after "globalization"
  • Historical knowledge/historical feeling 

  • The ethics of historical objectivity in the era of “fake news”

Interested panelists should submit an abstract of 300 words, a brief biography3-5 bibliographic sources, and contact information no later than Tuesday, August 20th.

Please email with a subject line "SCMS Time after Time Panel) cc'ing all: kbanerje@andrew.cmu.edu, matthew_ellis@brown.edu, and rschaff@ithica.edu. Accepted panelists will be notified shortly after.