New Approaches to Cinematic Identification (due 4/15/14

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Film Criticism
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Call for Papers:
Special issue of Film Criticism:
New Approaches to Cinematic Identification

Cinematic identification was once at the heart of film theory and film criticism. Jean-Louis Baudry and Christian Metz’s initial and influential formulations, however, have been critiqued from two directions. Feminist film scholars initiated perhaps the most important critique of identification, that grounded in identity. Later, black, queer, and postcolonial film scholars extended this line of thinking, further problematizing the early monolithic accounts of cinematic identification. While acknowledging that processes of identification are fundamental to the cinema, their accounts sought to include subject positions other than those of straight, white males. What we had were cinematic identifications, plural, not singular.

At roughly the same time, these psychoanalytical articulations of cinematic identification were challenged. Specifically theoretical in nature, historicist, cognitivist, Deleuzean, and phenomenological criticisms argued either that the nature of cinematic identification was fundamentally different than Metz and Baudry had claimed—or that cinematic identification did not take place at all.

Processes of identification are far stranger and more complex than any accounts have yet been able to acknowledge. This special issue of Film Criticism, “New Approaches to Cinematic Identification,” will draw together essays that revisit cinematic identification, re-posing it as a productive problem for theorizing about the cinema and other moving-image media.

We seek essays that open up cinematic identification of any kind as a conceptual problem, in relation to any media, in any theoretical or scholarly idiom. Possible topics may include:

—identity and identification (queers and identification, women and identification, racialized subjects and identification, etc.)
—identification and (de)colonization
—psychoanalysis beyond Freud and Lacan: identification in post-Freudian or object-relations theory
—identification and affect
—diffuse, attenuated, failed, or suspended identification in moving image media
—identification and phenomenology, identification and Deleuze, identification and cognitive film theory
—dis-identification in the cinema
—historicist approaches to cinematic identification
—identification and genre, identification and form
—aesthetics and identification
—the politics of identification, identification and politics
—cinematic identification as a problem for new media studies: television, games, digital media, etc.

Submissions should be sent to the editors: Elizabeth Reich (Wayne State University, and Scott C. Richmond (Wayne State University, These should be in typical file formats (.doc, .docx, .rtf, .pdf). Please include a 250-word abstract in the email, along with a brief author bio. Submissions should be no longer than 8,000 words (including footnotes and endnotes). Submissions should be received no later than April 15.

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