Cinemania: Madness and the Moving Image, February 19-20, deadline DEC. 15

full name / name of organization: 
Anna Shechtman / Yale University
contact email: 

Cinemania: Madness and the Moving Image

Film and Media Studies Graduate Student Conference
Yale University
February 19-20, 2016

Keynote Speaker: W. J. T. Mitchell, Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Serve Professor of English and Art History, University of Chicago

Closing Remarks: Francesco Casetti, Thomas E. Donnelley Professor of Humanities and Film and Media Studies, Yale University

The graduate program in Film and Media Studies at Yale University is pleased to invite submissions to the 2016 graduate student conference "Cinemania: Madness and the Moving Image." Born from the spectacular, supernatural, and neurological preoccupations of the nineteenth century, the frenetic images of the cinematic apparatus reportedly induced a flurry of hysterical episodes, epileptic fits, murders, trances and nervous breakdowns as the new technology made its way from the city to the country, from the music hall to the movie theaters, from the mouth of the machine to the minds of the masses. Psychoanalytic scholars found in film a portal to the unconscious, and cultural theorists diagnosed the screen as a symptom of the disordered modern sensorium. From their Victorian origins to their contemporary digital dissolution, moving images have been associated with madness, launching their makers, characters, and consumers into the sensuous slippage between fantasy and reality. For this conference, we wish to address a series of questions: What is it about the moving image that makes it a perennial site and stimulus for madness? How have our cultural conceptions of madness been inflected by its representation on the screen and manifestation in the medium? What do we make of the range of registers to be found in cinemania, from the heights of carnivalesque camp to the dark recesses of the surveillance state, the fraught family unit, and the schizoid spectator?

Individual papers engaging with the following suggestions are welcome; other proposals relating to the general theme of the conference are also encouraged.
•Representations of madness in the media (neurosis, psychosis, split personalities, paranoia, addiction, psychedelic imagery, modes of excess)
•Spaces of madness: asylums, sanatoria, prisons, domestic dystopias
•Maddened by media (cinephilia, cinephobia, cinetrance)
•Media and mass hysteria (propaganda, brainwashing, hypnosis, subliminal messages, conspiracy theories)
•The past, present, and future of psychoanalysis in media studies
•The mad avant-garde (German expressionism, Dada, Surrealism, magical realism, eccentrism)
•The ethics of representing mental illness onscreen
•New fields on mediated madness (disability studies, sound studies, mad studies)

Please submit an abstract (250-300 words) and a CV to co-chairs Anna Shechtman, Jenny Tang, Hsin-Yuan Peng, Leana Hirschfeld-Kroen, and Anastasia Kostina at cinemania2016@gmail.com no later than December 15, 2015. Participants will be notified by early January.