CFP: Melancholy Ethics – Ecocriticism and the Moving Image in a Planetary Age, July 5-6, 2014

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The Program Committee of the Association for Studies of Culture and Representation
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CFP: Melancholy Ethics – Ecocriticism and the Moving Image in a Planetary Age

The Program Committee of the Association for Studies of Culture and Representation invites proposal submissions for an interdisciplinary panel titled "Melancholy Ethics – Ecocriticism and the Moving Image in a Planetary Age." The panel will be held at the 9th Annual Meeting on July 5-6, 2014 at the Komaba campus of the University of Tokyo, Japan. We are looking for 20 minutes presentations in either English or Japanese language that address theoretical and historical issues of moving image in general and images of the city in particular raised by the present planetary situation. The deadline for proposal submissions is May 15, 2014.

In Ecology Without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics (2007), Timothy Morton has led the ground for a radical engagement with contemporary debates in ecology in general and ecocriticism in particular. As other thinkers such as Ursula K. Heise, he stresses the necessity to fully engage with the aporia of a Romantic understanding of place in ecocriticism to make sense of a planetary situation characterized by an increasing interconnectedness and a continuous state of crisis.

Avoiding any simple claim to leave the boat of planet earth for another world, Timothy Morton rather argues for a queer ethical position, a dark ecology, where we make the radical choice to remain in a dying world, and in the time that remains after the end, to learn to live with the other.

More specifically, Morton argues for the potential of the concept of ambiance or atmosphere in works of art to engage with this particular ethics. Melancholy ethics is an ethics of the future in the space opened by a suspension and a delay, in the screeching of an emergency break. This approach is particularly interesting for rethinking the relation between visual culture, place and the environment in terms of queer studies, urban studies and media studies, while avoiding the aporia of discussions on the global and globalization.

We are thus interested in discussions of works in any media form that explore visual movements, narrative forms, gendered subjectivities and ethical positions that allow for a productive engagement with this planetary situation. Although our interest lies mostly in moving images in the present time, we welcome a wide range of topics across media, genres, historical periods and geographical locations that intersect in the question of the planetary.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

Moving image and ecocritical representations of place

Genealogies of images of the environment, place and the planet

Moving image and ambient narratives of healing

Moving image and ambient sound

Visual Representations of ecological disasters and urban landscapes

Science Fiction and images of the planetary

Asian regionalism and ecological crisis in film and animation

The Cold War order and the visual imagination of disasters

The figure of the political and media ecologies in visual culture

Cyborgs, Animals and Insects in ecocritical works

The cinematic automaton and natural ecologies

Please submit your proposal by email to

Your submission email should include the following:

1) Your name

2) The title of your paper

3) A 200–250 word (English) or 600 character (Japanese) abstract

4) Your institutional affiliation and position

5) A brief Bio (limited to 50 words in English, 150 characters in Japanese)

6) Your contact information (email address, phone number and physical address)

About the Conference:

As part of the 9th Annual Meeting, we will hold a symposium on tactility and sound. For more details, please check our website:

About the Association

Founded in 2006, the Association for Studies of Culture and Representation is an organization dedicated to interdisciplinary research and teaching of humanities. Our main interest lies in the critical analysis of culture through the multi-faceted concept of "representation." Through the mechanism of "representation," ideas and objects are produced, circulated, and received in society. We examine various modalities of cultural production and their functions in social, political, and economic contexts, while going beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries and exploring areas that connect diverse fields of research and practice.

For further information on the Association, please visit the below site:



For information on past symposiums, events, and panels, please see



The presenter must be a member of the Association for Studies of Culture and Representation. There is no conference registration fee for Association members. For more information about the general membership procedure for those based in Japan, please see


If you do not have a Japanese bank account, you may become a member directly at the conference by filling out a form* and paying the admission and membership fees in cash (Japanese yen, cash only).

*The "Referee" section in the form asks you to provide an Association member's name and signature. If you do not have a referee or have difficulty in finding one, you may leave it blank.

Access to the University of Tokyo's Komaba campus:

If you have any further questions, please email us at

For the Japanese version of the CFP, please see: