SCMS 2015 Proposed Workshop: "Late Foucault and Media Studies" Deadline July 15, 2014

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Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference, March 2015, Montreal, Canada

Late Foucault and Media Studies
Workshop for Society for Cinema and Media Studies annual conference, March 2015, Montreal, Canada

We are looking for participants for a proposed workshop on the Late Foucault and Media Studies (description below). Please send inquiries and short (150 word) proposals to and no later than July 15. Thanks!

Workshop Organizers: Laurie Ouellette and Hunter Hargraves

As a body of knowledge that significantly rethinks the relationship between social institutions and (in)dividual agency, Foucault's legacy on issues of cultural identity, epistemology, and power dynamics is indisputable; thirty years after his death, he remains the most widely-cited scholar within the humanities. But within the terrain of media studies, Foucault has been primarily harnessed to illustrate and unpack a narrower range of concepts: surveillance culture, visibility and publicity, figurations of popular media vis-à-vis social norms, to name a few. One could in fact argue that the import of Foucault's thought on media studies – a topic rarely theorized (at least explicitly) within his overall work – stems mostly from the prodigious works of his early and middle periods, and not from his later works that encompass questions of ethics and subjectivity, governmentality and neoliberalism, and self-discipline.

This workshop explores the late Foucault's usefulness to the critical analysis of media culture. As Mark B.N. Hansen wrote in 2012, media studies' obsession with "control" instead of "discipline" as a paradigm for sociotechnical agency hindered the impact of Foucault's later works in particular on media culture; this workshop proposes new mobilizations of the full breadth of the late Foucault in analyzing not just new media, but film, television, and screen cultures more broadly. Some questions our workshop will ask are: how might we productively utilize Foucault in a media studies seminar, tying especially his later lectures at the Collège de France to the analysis of modern media? What theoretical merit can a analysis of Foucault's notions of governmentality (as an extension of his earlier work on subjectivation) have on the ideological and affective critiques of media culture? How can his robust genealogical work on neoliberalism better inform work being done on the changing cultural industries of today? How might Foucault's study of technologies of the self in classical antiquity be leveraged in today's contemporary media culture? Workshop participants are invited to reflect on their own experiences teaching the late Foucault in a media studies class, in order to emphasize the interaction between critical theory and pedagogy.