Performativity and Secondary Cinematic Authorship - NeMLA, Boston, March 21-24, 2013

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Tufts University
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Classic psychoanalytic film theory relies on two fundamental axioms: 1) That an audience that experiences film spectatorship as a form of voyeurism, and 2) That film characters must be diegetically unaware of their own textual and performative status. But such a framework must be modified with respect to films in which major characters are depicted in the act of manufacturing texts (e.g. Boogie Nights, To Die For, Benny's Video, Waiting for Guffman), and in which these secondary texts are made to supplant the film proper. In such instances, character authors understand precisely that they are operating in a performative capacity. This panel will focus on films that rely extensively on this primary/secondary narrative structure, and in which characters are consistently engaged in performing, creating text, and shaping narrative.

How does the fictionalization and dramatization of textual production call our attention to the constructed (decidedly non-innate) nature of narrative itself? How are the precepts of film spectatorship challenged by this particular film form? Submissions are welcome from all disciplines and theoretical perspectives. Possible topics and approaches include (but are not limited to):

• Films About Authors
• Surveillance Narrative
• Voice-Over as Text
• The Fictional Documentary (in cinema and/or television)
• Cinema & Epistolarity
• Authorship & Anxiety
• The Flashback
• Problems of Voyeurism
• Redefining the Gaze
• Authorship as Containment
• Blurring the Line Between Primary & Secondary Text

Please send submissions to Jason Clemence at Include a 250-word abstract and a short bio. Submissions are due by September 30th.