SCMS 2015 Panel CFP: Documenting the Different Body

full name / name of organization: 
Daniel Grinberg / University of California Santa Barbara
contact email: 

Society for Cinema and Media Studies 2015 Panel CFP (Montreal, Canada): Documenting the Different Body

As new modes of technology and distribution enable more groups to convey their stories across a multitude of media platforms, depictions of different bodies are gaining visibility but still remain marginalized. This panel seeks to consider the various strategies and approaches that documentaries have employed to incorporate underrepresented, disenfranchised, or non-normative bodies and the potential ethical, epistemological, and economic dimensions behind these decisions. It also aims, in part, to identify the thorny power differentials between subjects and filmmakers that can negotiate subjects' appearances, acknowledge the physical risks that can endanger the bodies of the documentarian and crew during production, and ask how these growing archives of alternative images function (or fail) to critique mainstream portrayals. Papers may wish to engage such issues within a specific contemporary or older documentary or set of documentaries, examine an arc of representation of corporeality across a historical period, or provide a cross-cultural comparison.

Categories of bodily representations in documentary film, television, and new media to consider include (but are not limited to):

Queer and alternative sexualities

Transgender and diverse gender identities

Racial and ethnic difference

The aging and infirm

Physical and mental illness


Non-normative shapes and sizes

The incarcerated

The financially insecure and homeless

Refugees, war survivors, and veterans

The cyber and virtual

Body modification

Paper proposals should include a title, abstract (about 300 words), 3-5 bibliographic sources, author bio (about 100 words), and email address. Please send proposals to Daniel Grinberg at by August 5, 2014. All proposals will receive responses by August 10.