Malabou, Plasticity and Film

deadline for submissions: 
June 1, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Benjamin Dalton and Ben Tyrer
contact email: 

CFP: Malabou, Plasticity and Film


Special Issue on Malabou, Plasticity and Film

Edited by Benjamin Dalton and Ben Tyrer

Deadline: 1 June 2022

We welcome articles of between 7,000 and 10,000 words for a special issue of Film-Philosophy entitled "Malabou, Plasticity, and Film". Articles will explore how the work of the contemporary French philosopher Catherine Malabou, and in particular her central concept of plasticity, speaks to film and film-philosophy; in return, they will also explore how film and film-philosophy can extend, challenge and transform Malabou’s philosophy and her concept of plasticity.

Malabou’s richly interdisciplinary work elaborates an understanding of "plasticity" as a central concept across philosophy, psychoanalysis, neuroscience, epigenetics and more recently cybernetics and robotics among other disciplines. This plasticity is, at heart, an exploration of the innate mutability and transformability of all organisms, bodies and modes of being. Malabou’s plasticity, however, does not just describe mutability but also resistance, destruction, and explosion (Malabou gives the example of plastic explosives). Cinema has an elusive but unmistakable presence in Malabou’s elaboration of plasticity. Her work references examples of organic and technological mutability in films by Chris Marker, Stanley Kubrick, Alex Garland and Lars Von Trier, and she also refers to Deleuzian film-philosophy. In The Heidegger Change (2004) and Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing (2005), Malabou also explores Élie Faure’s concept of ‘cineplasticity’ as a productive idea for her own philosophy. Yet Malabou’s work remains under-explored in film-philosophy.

The special issue asks: What transformations occur in the encounter between Malabou and film? It seeks to establish a series of methodologies whereby Malabou’s philosophy of plasticity can be brought into contact with film and film-philosophy and vice versa. It will consider how a thinking of film and film-philosophy can be analysed, extended and challenged in relation to plasticity, whilst also exploring how film and film-philosophy can analyse, extend and challenge Malabou’s own work. 

Suggested Topics Include:

  • Readings of cinematic representations of brains, neural identity and brain traumas in relation to Malabou’s own work on the brain at the intersections of philosophy, psychoanalysis and neuroscience
  • Filmic representations of bodily mutability and transformability which resonate with Malabou; filmic representation of biological life and processes as plastic
  • The use of moving image technologies in the (neuro)sciences to image bodily plasticity (e.g. CT and MRI machines)
  • Plasticity, queer film, and queer film-philosophy: imaging the mutability of gender, sexuality and the body
  • Analyses of Malabou’s own references to cinema in her philosophy (e.g. Marker, Kubrick, Garland, Von Trier, as well as Deleuzian film-philosophy). To what extent might film-philosophy already be present in Malabou’s work?
  • Analyses of other (film-)philosophies of plasticity, mutability, transformability in relation to Malabou’s philosophy (e.g. Sergei Eisenstein’s work on ‘plasmaticness’ in animation)
  • The plasticity of film-philosophy: how might Malabou’s emphasis on accident, encounter and transformation offers ways of understanding the relation between film and philosophy itself?
  • The politics of plasticity: neurology and/as neoliberalism; ideology, resistance, explosion, exploitation 

All suitable articles will be subject to double-blind peer-review and submission does not guarantee publication.

Full submissions should be made here:

You will be able to choose the specific CFP section when you submit.

Submissions must be formatted and referenced in the APA (6th edition) style.

Guidelines for authors including information about abstracts, keywords and formatting, can be found here

For any questions relating to the special issue please email both Benjamin Dalton and Ben Tyrer.