Be the Media: Film, New Media, and Social Formations (deadline 8/3/10; dates 3/10-3/13/11, New Orleans)

full name / name of organization: 
Chris Robe'/Florida Atlantic University/Panel at Society for Cinema and Media Studies
contact email: 

For a proposed panel at the 2011 Society for Cinema and Media Studies:

The work of scholars like Clemencia Rodriguez, John Downing, David Graeber, and Jeffrey Juris has increasingly revealed the necessity of analyzing film and new media in relation to broader activist social formations that transgress institutional and national boundaries. Although film and media studies has offered some substantive scholarship regarding this topic—particularly in regards to AIDS activism and Third Cinema—, it has all-too-often relegated concerns of activism and social movements to sociology and communication studies.

In order to map the complex roles media and technology play within global justice struggles by citizens and non-citizens alike, a diverse array of cross-disciplinary methodologies and theoretical frameworks are required to adequately analyze them. As Raymond Williams warned roughly forty years ago: "Since such [social] formations relate, inevitably, to real social structures, and yet have highly variable and often oblique relations with formally discernible social institutions, any social or cultural analysis of them requires procedures radically different from those developed for institutions." Along similar lines, this panel seeks theoretically-informed, historically-grounded papers that explore the nuances (and contradictions) of how specific activist social formations employ film and new media within their struggles.

Possible topics might include: the relations between activist and commercial media; the relations between activist media makers and government institutions; the relations between activist and arts communities; the cultural mode of production of activist media formations; the aesthetic strategies employed by activist formations; distribution and activist media; anarchism and activist media; Right-wing activist media and social movements.

Please send a 250 word abstract with 5 bibliographic sources and a brief author bio by August 5 to