CinemaSpace: A Two Day Conference on Indian Cinema and the City, 3-4 November 2011
A TWO‐DAY CONFERENCE ON INDIAN CINEMA AND THE CITY
3 – 4 November 2011
Organized By Chao Center for Asian Studies, Rice University
CinemaSpace proposes to bring together scholars working on Indian cinema in an attempt to refocus our attention on questions of technology, aesthetics and the production of cinematic space. The structuring of the cinematic city will be the organizing thread of the conference. The city here is understood as a placeholder for bringing together and delineating concerns of aesthetics, technology, modernity and development.
In the last decade, with the emergence of a globalized cultural industry that has been termed 'Bollywood', a segment of Indian cinema has been receiving much attention in Western academia both in terms of research and courses being taught. As has been noted by film scholars, narrative difficulties such as song‐dance sequences and complex plot lines that were seen as hindrances to the appeal of Indian cinema in the West has today become infused with cultural and economic value. Scholarship that focus on this cultural value of 'Bollywood' and its critique based on the argument of multiplicity of cinemas in India (or regional cinemas as they are called) continues to read aesthetics as cultural difference. This takes attention away from cinema's specificity as a techno‐aesthetic, which has salience across regional/national particularities. This move away from particularities cannot be 'post‐' or 'pre‐', but is grounded on the national itself, hence the focus in this conference on one national cinema.
The conference attempts to initiate new conversations between papers that address the aesthetics and narrative forms of Indian cinema from different standpoints. The different axes around which city space is organized in Indian cinema within, without and at the edges of the diegetic frame will be of interest. It proposes to think through the production of space in Indian cinema as linked to cinematic and other art practices in other parts of the world with which it has been in constant contact. These links, although more visible to us in the last two decades, have been a feature of Indian cinema from its inception. The imagining of the cinematic city is a significant thematic that will allow us to think through the structuring of space in Indian cinema outside culturalist assumptions, and to help us understand its aesthetic practice as historical and internationalist at the same time. For analytic purposes, the conference would propose to bracket off the understanding of cinema as a space of representation to focus on the aesthetic concerns governing it. Rather than cinema being a space through which one finds traces of real cities, the conference attempts to think of space of the city in cinema as a frame of intelligibility.
• The aesthetic of cinematic city
• City, modernity and the film frame
• Internationalisms and the cinematic city
• Realism, melodrama and the city
• Trajectories of film aesthetics beyond the nation
• Film industry, capital and commodity
• State formations, film policy
• Location shooting and the studio floor
• Camera, projector and the eye
• Aurality and space
• Choreographed bodies
• Architecture in/of cinema
• Movements and the city
• Cartographies, habitations, navigations
• Celluloid and digital city spaces
• City limits
Prof. Moinak Biswas, Department of Film Studies, Jadhavpur University, Kolkata (India) will give the keynote address.
Abstracts of not more than 500 words along with a short bio‐note should be sent to Ratheesh Radhakrishnan at firstname.lastname@example.org latest by April 10, 2011. Emails should have "film conference" as its subject line. Acceptance notifications will be sent by April 25, 2011. The Chao Center will be happy to host the selected scholars in Houston for the duration of the conference, but will be unable to cover travel costs.
For future updates on the conference: http://chaocenter.rice.edu/Content.aspx?id=650
Rice University Chao Center for Asian Studies, MS‐475
Houston, TX 77005 USA