CFProposals: Sublime Aesthetics and Cinema Reader

deadline for submissions: 
November 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Nathan Carroll, Associate Professor/College of St. Scholastica
contact email: 

Negative Pleasures: The Cinematic Sublime

This is a call for abstracts to contribute to an edited reader about sublimity in film. 'Negative Pleasures’ aims to reconsider sublime aesthetics as a useful critical tool in Film Studies research. While the dramatic impact of the sublime has been somewhat flattened in critical meaning due to general overuse, this reader aims to engage and revitalize specific aesthetic theories of the sublime in relation to case studies in cinema. Since most philosophers’ theories of the sublime differ significantly in both content and approach from Longinus through postmodern theory, (including moving from a condition of the object to a symptom of the spectator and linguistic system), submitted abstracts should be clear about which philosophical theory of the sublime is being referenced and its value to their project. The larger goal is to further bridge Philosophy and Film Studies.

This reader is conceptually organized into historical categories of sublime with a proposed total, including my own submission, of 12 chapters at 20 pages each. I am looking to cover a wide range of philosophers of the sublime: from Longinus through Addison, Burke, gothic writers, Schopenhauer through Nietzsche, the Freudian uncanny, Post-Structuralists and Postmodernists. I am interested in all film topics.

My own chapter relates to digital one-shot films and the Kantian sublime. I am a tenured Associate Film Studies professor with a graduate background in Philosophy focused on sublime aesthetics; I also teach a course on this topic.

A publishing contract for this reader has been signed with Intellect Press (UK). The deadline for abstract submissions is November 1, 2017. Accepted submissions will be due June 1. The intended publishing date is fall 2019 pending peer reviews of the final manuscript. All content must be original to this reader.

Some example ideas for possible subjects include:

The Grand Tour (Addison, Dennis, Ashley-Cooper) and the mountain films of Leni Riefenstahl

The Twin Peaks cycle and the Freudian uncanny/doppelgangers

Edmund Burke and body horror cinema

Longinus and Daniel-Day Lewis: sublime monologues

Schopenhauer and The Red Shoes

Daphne du Maurier adaptations and the Romantic gothic sublime

Bill Morrison and Guy Maddin’s decayed cinema: the sublime archive (Derrida, Foucault)

Kristevian abjection in Cindy Sherman’s Office Killer

Lyotard’s postmodern sublime and Mathew Barney’s films (presenting the unpresentable)


Abstracts should be no more than 300 words. Please include a title and a brief bio. Please submit abstracts to Nathan Carroll ( by November 1, 2017.