Questioning Categories in Cinema Studies, February 19th and 20th

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New York University Department of Cinema Studies Student Conference
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Cinema Studies Student Conference, Spring 2010

February 19-20, 2010, New York University, New York, NY

For over ten years, the New York University Cinema Studies department has held a student conference to showcase exemplary work in cinema and media studies. We have a long history of bringing together students and scholars from different departments and disciplines in order to address the transformations currently shaping the field of cinema studies and to stimulate lively exchanges on contemporary screen culture. Our hope is that this year's conference can build upon the successful events held by the department in the past. We invite students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels to contribute. Organized by and for students, the conference offers a forum for intellectual dialogue as well as a valuable learning opportunity, which promises to thrive on their active participation.

Call for Papers: Questioning Categories in Cinema Studies

In a continuing effort to grasp the consequences of the changing contemporary landscape of cinema and media, which responds to larger transformations of the geographical, conceptual, and institutional structures—local, regional, and international—this year's conference takes the categories through which cinema and media are understood in the present and have been in the past. The conference will take categories such as genre, nation, and technology as the starting point for posing questions about a wide range of issues concerning transformations in modes of production, distribution, exhibition and practices of circulation, preservation, and interpretation. Debates about analytical methodologies for understanding cinema and other forms of media have been a central part of the field of cinema studies for decades. This conference hopes to offer students and scholars the opportunity to examine aspects of cinema studies' categorizations critically. For example, one might quest ion the way that genre divisions have historically affected the course of critical writing about cinematic forms. Furthermore, how can questioning such boundaries be envisioned as shifting the focus of interpretation from the text to a shared negotiation between texts and audiences?

Submissions might address, but are not limited to, the following topic areas (although submitters are encouraged to pursue their own creative engagement with the conference theme):

• Methodological problems regarding: approaches to cinematic representations within varying reception contexts; the globalization of converging geographic and virtual spaces; expanding communications infrastructures and rapidly changing forms of media distribution (e.g. journalism); transnational/national negotiations across class, culture, gender, sex, ethnic and other boundaries

• Reflection on: the increasing prevalence of inter/multidisciplinarity, bringing together the humanities, social sciences, and/or 'hard' sciences; the changing relationships between theories and practices

• Consideration of: the problem of defining nonfiction/documentary film categorically against forms of fictional representation; the difficulty of 'representing historical reality', or documentary as an alternative archive; (some of nonfiction's many expressions are the essay film, ethnographic film, home movies, and educational film)

• Identifying sites of: cosmopolitanism and cross-cultural exchange in examinations of the aesthetics, economics, production and dissemination of moving images

• Outlining the challenges associated with: the archiving, preservation, curating, and/or exhibition of film, analog video and/or digital video; the difficulty of defining the material life of moving images

• Thinking about: the reorganization of media through digitalization; proliferations of 'interactive' screens, such as the cell phone, videogame and/or network interface; the multiple histories of television and its variety of expressions; YouTube and networked moving images

This list is by no means exhaustive, and we invite students who have differing perspectives or their own critical responses to contribute their work. Students are also encouraged to form and propose full panels dealing with conceptual angles not listed here if they wish.

The Cinema Studies Student Conference Committee at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts invites the submission of papers that address the theme, 'Questioning Categories in Cinema Studies.'

Guidelines – submissions for single presentations: Please submit proposals of 250 words or less, including bibliographic references, to by January 15th, 2010. Presentations will be no more than 20 minutes (7-10 pages, double spaced). Please include your name, presentation title, institution, major or department affiliation, and student level (BA, MA, PhD, etc) with your submission.

Guidelines – submissions for full panels: Students who wish to form their own 3-student panels on a topic may submit proposals with a sponsoring professor or ABD PhD student as moderator. Submissions should be e-mailed to and should include a 250-word (max.) abstract for each presentation, a brief description of the panel topic, and the name and contact information for the sponsoring moderator. Please also include each presenter's name, presentation title, institution, major, or department affiliation, student level (BA, MA, PhD, etc), and e-mail address. Time slots for the full panel, including discussion, are limited to 75 minutes. Full-panel submissions will have preference for inclusion in the conference and are due by January 8th, 2010. If selected, you will be notified as soon as possible, at which time each participant will be required to submit his or her entire paper.