ZOOM 2018: Representations of Europe and Europeanism in Eastern European Cinema of the 2000s

deadline for submissions: 
October 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
György Kalmár / University of Debrecen, Hungary
contact email: 

Call For Papers

ZOOM 2018: Representations of Europe and Europeanism in Eastern European Cinema of the 2000s
Film Conference
7-8 December, 2018
Debrecen, Hungary

The new millennium has brought about a series of dramatic social and cultural changes for Europe, resulting in the constant rearticulation of the meaning of Europe and European identity. The collapse of Eastern-European state socialist regimes did not bring about the “end of history” as many had presumed in the 90s. The euphoria over the apparent victory of global neoliberal capitalism and parliamentary democracy did not last long. The hastily introduced capitalism in Eastern Europe often led to a series of economic-social-cultural crises (unemployment, drastic drop of living standards, commercialization of culture, devaluation of former socialization patterns), while the West had to deal with the Eastern-European “other” (its different views of democracy, divergent visions of the future as well as its ideological resistance). The new millennium and the eastward expansion of the EU have also brought dramatic changes and many social and cultural tensions. Moreover, the growing risk of international terrorism, the 2008 economic crisis, the increasing dissatisfaction with the neoliberal economic-political system, the increasing critique of multiculturalism and political correctness, the strengthening of the new right as well as the general rise of political populism, the intensifying demographic crisis, and the ever increasingly politicized migration crisis generated social debates that intentionally or unintentionally questioned and reconceptualized the presumably stable notions of Europe, Europeanism and European identity.
The fourth ZOOM Conference, to be held in Debrecen, Hungary, 7-8 December, 2018, attempts to examine the above outlined reconceptualization of Europe, Europeanism, as well as the geopolitically shaped identities that appear in Eastern European cinemas. We invite papers on films that address the shifts in identity politics and the new set of socio-cultural conflicts that constantly rewrite our perceptions of Europe. Although we are aware that these complex issues are rarely dealt with directly in cinema, they are nevertheless present in several films about contemporary social problems or socially embedded identity-struggles. For example, travel featured on screen often interprets and gives meaning to spaces, furthermore it spatializes the traveller’s identity. Films about immigration, international migration or refugees also frequently operate geopolitically designated space- and identity constructions. By the same token, films depicting intercultural encounters problematize the relationship between the self and the other. In fact, films that address such issues as the historical past, memory, trauma or national traditions also often explore questions about Europe and the contemporary changes in Europeanism. In addition, the various ideological, philosophical, political or even economic models and imaginations that appear in films also operate networks of meanings linked to the notion of Europeanism. Academics well-versed in film history and research might also want to examine cinematic traditions and devices applied in representations of the above mentioned issues. In light of all this, we anticipate papers that productively link the analysis of Europeanism’s cinematic representation with the contemporary social, ideological and cultural context, while also taking into consideration the technical and medium-specific features of cinema.

Submissions may include but are not limited to the following topics:
- Cinematic representation of Europe and its metaphors
- Cinematic representation of Europe’s geographical/economic/social/cultural disconnectedness
- Representations of democracy, liberalism, nationalism and Europeanism
- Cinematic representations of anti-Europeanism and the (re-)colonizing West
- Western Europe in the eyes of Eastern Europe (idealisation, fantasies, the fulfilment or failure of these fantasies), portraying mobility from East to West
- Eastern Europe in the eyes of Western Europe (colonization and self-colonization, othering, orientalization, self-exotization, barbarization), the Eastern European region as the “poor neighbour”, as “not European enough” or as an exotic, untainted-archaic world
- Relations between the self and the other, intercultural encounters and their relevance in terms of identity politics
- Depicting refugees, immigrants, terrorists and the protection of European values
- Flaneurs, vagabonds and tourists: mapping European values on the screen
- Post-socialist modernization and economic convergence-narratives on film
- Europe and the countryside
- Eurocentric worldviews and ideologies on film (their unreflective use, confirmation and critique)
- Challenges revolving around Europeanism and gendered identities
- Generational differences in perceptions of Europe
- The question of Europeanism in the case of cinematic co-productions
- Connection between national identity and Europeanism in the case of multi-lingual film productions
- Representing the disintegrated and reunited Europe in historical films
- Europeanism in auteur and in genre cinema
- “Westernization” of narrative and cinematic language in Eastern European films
- The film poetics of mobility and stasis

An edited volume of a selection of papers is to be published.

Conference venue: MODEM Contemporary Art Gallery, Conference Hall, Baltazár Dezső tér, Debrecen, Hungary.

Please send proposals including an abstract of 200 words and a short bio (maximum 150 words) to zoom4konf@yahoo.com

Application deadline: 30 October, 2018

Participation fee for presenters (which includes participation at the reception): 
full fee: 30 Euros 
reduced fee: 20 Euros (for former Eastern-bloc citizens, independent researchers and doctoral students)

The conference is sponsored by the Department of British Studies of the University of Debrecen, the Institute of English and American Studies, and the Media Research Group of the of Debrecen Committee of the Hungarian Academy of Science.