[UPDATE] Quiet Revolutions: Politically Subversive Cinema

full name / name of organization: 
SFSU Cinema Studies Graduate Student Association
contact email: 

Quiet Revolutions: Politically Subversive Cinema
16th Annual Cinema Conference, San Francisco State University
October 17–18, 2014

Keynote Speaker: Chuck Kleinhans (Northwestern University) and Julia Lesage (University of Oregon), founders and editors of Jump Cut

Contact email: CSGSA@mail.sfsu.edu
Website: http://sfstate.orgsync.com/org/csgsa

Note: This year's conference will be organized by students from both the MA and MFA tracks in the SFSU Cinema Department—in keeping with this, we welcome submissions of traditional paper proposals as well as film essays and short films.


The moving image has frequently played a strong role in political movements, whether as a direct catalyst for change or a more indirect disruption. In this conference, we hope to explore this latter role of "subversive cinema": our focus is on those films that address political issues and concepts metaphorically and indirectly, rather than a direct or "militant" political cinema. Subversive cinema, as we define it here, would intervene creatively with existing power structures rather than challenging them head-on. Some questions we intend to address: How does a piece of cinema become subversive? How does the subversive film co-opt the existing order? Does subversive cinema necessarily require subverting the traditions of film form itself? Or, conversely, can simply subverting "accepted" film style itself be a political act? Does a film become more or less political in different viewing environments, different times and places, different socio-political contexts? What role does the viewer, critic, or theorist play in making cinema politically subversive—or in subverting otherwise mainstream, normative films? What use might irony, satire, and camp have for the subversive filmmaker?

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Politically subversive readings of mainstream film
  • Detourned film
  • Political satire and black comedy
  • Subversive politics within genre and "low" cinema
  • Historical, geographical, and socio-political contexts of subversive filmmaking / film reading
  • Subversion via silence / omission
  • Subversive performativity
  • Resistant spectatorship and politics of identity
  • The role of censorship/film codes in sparking subversive, rather than direct, political content
  • Cinema collectives and subversive political practices
  • Remote intimacy and shared subversive readings of film
  • Uses of subversive cinema within social movements

We are looking for proposals for critical papers and creative presentations, including short films and film essays; please send an abstract of the paper or presentation (300 words) as well as a brief bio (100 words). Abstracts should include information on accompanying materials such as PowerPoint presentations, films, or film clips (include file types). Presentations/films should be approximately 20 minutes long.

Please submit your abstracts to CSGSA@mail.sfsu.edu