Reimagining Genre in Cinema

deadline for submissions: 
August 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
SFSU Cinema Studies Graduate Student Association
contact email: 

 San Francisco State University's 21st Annual Graduate School Cinema Conference:

Reimagining Genre in Cinema

October 17-18, 2019

Keynote Speaker: Damon Young, Associate Professor of French and Film & Media at UC Berkeley

Whether because of digital technologies or other cultural shifts, many traditional cinematic forms, formulas, and categories seem increasingly to be in flux or mixed; this seems particularly true of notions of genre.  Of course, genre has always been subject to mixture, to being contaminated by its others, but today, new genre-redefining forms and mixtures seem to be proliferating. At the same time, this very proliferation sometimes seems to demand increasingly specific generic categorizations and subdivisions.  

The digital archive has given an unprecedented level of access to the cinema of the past and present and helps build the filmmakers of the future. New technologies make play and exploration more accessible than ever, and yet old ways of telling stories persist and evolve. This technological change is coupled with more globalized forms of communication, but also with an emphasis on representation, identity, and revising history. The result is a medium that is concerned not only with understanding its past, but also with actively constructing a new way forward.

Increasingly, traditional genres like the western and horror are turned on their head and complicated with new kinds of representations and mixture. Audiences themselves generate content and challenge generic forms--asking filmmakers to take new risks in mainstream formulas and celebrating independent and foreign cinematic forms. Indeed, following concepts of gender fluidity, genre is perhaps best understood as something that is inherently variable. This conference is concerned with both placing this generic reimagining in a historical context as well as exploring the changes occurring in our current moment, and seeks to explore these shifts through a more global lens.

Possible topics for this conference could include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Subverting, blending, or bending genre
  • Interactions between filmmakers and audiences
  • Identity and genre (e.g., race, sexuality, gender)
  • Gender fluid and genre fluid
  • Experimental filmmaking (e.g., found footage) and its connection to genre
  • Cross cultural borrowing and issues of appropriation
  • Similar generic play in other arts or mediums (e.g., fine arts, television, literature, etc.)
  • Digital media and transmedia narratives
  • Adaptation and intertextuality
  • Remakes, reboots, and franchises
  • Nostalgia and memory in the digital age
  • Historical periods that point to or have parallels with reimagining genre
  • International cinema and genre (how it is perceived as its own or a hybrid genre)
  • Revival of some genres and cinematic styles (e.g., the Western) 
  • Genre and the auteur 


  • Blade Runner 2049 and Blade Runner Shorts - blending Neo-Noir and Science Fiction
  • No Country For Old Men - Revisionist/Post Modern Western 
  • Suspiria - Italian Giallo Horror to contemporary horror film
  • Us and Get Out - incorporating identity politics into horror 
  • Mad Max - blending the road movie with science fiction and action film elements
  • Oceans 8 and Ghostbusters -- remaking the male buddy movie
  • Colossal  - monster genre mixed with comedy-drama 
  • High Life- The prison film as a space sci-fi

Submissions will be accepted from current graduate students, recently graduated students from MA or MFA programs (1-2 years after graduation), lecturers, post-doctoral scholars, and adjunct faculty.

While the School of Cinema hosts this conference, scholars of television, cultural studies, media studies, and other related fields are encouraged to submit proposals. We welcome presentations, video essays, and other forms of visual media as well as papers. Upon acceptance, your work will also be eligible for inclusion in our online journal, Cinemedia: Journal of the SFSU School of Cinema.

Please send a 300 word abstract, a brief biographical statement (100-150 words), and CV to: by August 15, 2019.