Imagining Crisis: Cinema & Media Studies Conference Nov. 21-23

full name / name of organization: 
York University, Toronto, Canada
contact email: 
imaginingcrisis@gmail.com

Imagining Crisis
York University Cinema & Media Studies Graduate Student Conference 2014
Toronto, Canada
November 21-23, 2014

**Confirmed Keynote: McKenzie Wark (The New School)**

Midway into the second decade of the 21st century, the term crisis has emerged as a dominant signifier, descriptor, and instrument of provocation and analysis. Crisis marks both a separation and a turning point, a break and a place of decision. In this light, crisis can be a critical tool, a means through which to imagine change, a site in which to work at questioning established limits (social, political, epistemological, ontological). As spaces of potential intervention in the given state of affairs, crises emerge from within and against a great variety of transitional moments, marking them as endpoints and/or origins.

Crisis can also be seen as the raison d’être of contemporary systems of control under neoliberal “24/7” capitalism. Indeed, in a world of “posts” (post: 911, “Axis of Evil”, economic collapse, Egyptian Revolution, Snowden, etc.), where economic, governmental, and mediatic forces of continuity now arguably absorb and integrate rupture and exception into their norms, have we reached a kind of crisis point of the very notion of crisis? Are we “post-crisis”? “Imagining Crisis” takes as its starting point the question of the crisis of crisis, and how to imagine crisis — to take on a crisis of the imagination — in way specific to our contemporary moment.

What kinds of questions and contingent answers does crisis — or the crises specific to our time, to our academic, activist, and artistic practices — provoke? Conversely, how can we question the very notion of crisis, or use crisis to imagine and bring into being new forces? How does crisis make things politically and socially visible; and how does crisis as a critical term reveal itself?

Crisis can offer cinema and media studies scholars, filmmakers, media artists, and activists of many stripes an experimental and diagnostic space for critique and research. For example: is film studies reaching a crisis point in terms of its role in academia or in relation to significant changes in its purported object of study (celluloid film and/or digital video)? For media artists, are the institutions of the art gallery or the film festival at a point of transformation or obsolescence? Do social media sites like Facebook and Twitter present necessary challenges to or opportunities for political and social activism? The multiplicity of ways in which crises present themselves as spurs and challenges to imagination and image technologies, as well as how crisis itself needs to be interrogated as a useful (or not) analytical term, is what “Imagining Crisis” seeks to begin to map out.

Topics for discussion and papers may include but are not limited to:

- film as a cultural and material object in a state of transformation, decay, and/or mutation;
- academic and disciplinary transformations and the challenges they pose to critical thought, practice and pedagogy;
- representations of ecological and environmental development and disaster in film and media;
- changes in social (sexual, moral, etc.) conventions as represented in film and television programs;
- the roles of attention, participation and/or boredom in the contemporary mediascape;
- the representation and/or the critical analysis of precarious labour and identities (immaterial and manual labour, union busting, small studios, etc.);
- changes in media platforms and social networks and how they have affected the practice of film criticism, history, and/or analysis;
- navigating the blurring of boundaries between privacy and publicity;
- temporality and historical change as located in/through media objects and discourses;
- the human, the animal, the posthuman, and the cyborg as (post)historical subjects.

We welcome papers that engage with the work of contemporary scholars and theorists like, but not limited to, McKenzie Wark, Rosi Braidotti, Alexander Galloway, Eugene Thacker, Wendy Chun, and Benjamin Noys. We also welcome filmmakers, media practitioners, and activists to present and discuss their work.

The confirmed Keynote Speaker for “Imagining Crisis” is McKenzie Wark, author of A Hacker Manifesto, Gamer Theory, 50 Years of Recuperation of the Situationist International, The Beach Beneath the Street, and The Spectacle of Disintegration, among others. He is a Professor at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College in New York City.

Please send a 300 word abstract, brief bibliography, and bio (with institutional affiliation, if applicable) as email attachments to imaginingcrisis@gmail.com by September 28, 2014.

Notifications about acceptance or rejection of proposal will be sent by October 1, 2014.

“Imagining Crisis” will be held at York University, Toronto, Canada from November 21-23, 2014.

The conference is cosponsored by Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts & Technology, York University.

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ecocriticism_and_environmental_studies
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