deadline for submissions: 
July 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
USC Division of Cinema and Media Studies
contact email: 






CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Accumulation and Excess


Accumulation and excess are rich, polymorphic concepts that can speak to local and global histories, radical filmmaking traditions and other poetic acts of defiance, or even the basic sensory schemata through which we experience our social and aesthetic environments. We seek to experiment openly with the articulation and intersection of these terms, as we examine how they are mediated, developed, and problematized by film, television, and other audiovisual forms.


Anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist critique are inescapable mainsprings for a thorough examination of this kind. Marxist and Pan-Africanist historian Walter Rodney urged readers to “remember that Europe’s greatest source of primary capital accumulation was overseas, and that the profits from African ventures continually outran the capital invested in the colonies.”[1] European modernity, under which U.S. social and political-economic development can be subsumed, is heir to a long process of unequal exchange, a brutal drama whose lead players are accumulation, excess, and their opposing terms. Those latter shadow concepts—depletion, dissipation, deficiency, dearth—characterize the material existence of colonized peoples, fragile ecologies, and the histories which bind them, all made fodder for the construction of a liberal world system. Such material siphoning generates a counter-history. “We are socialists,” declared the 1977 statement of the Black feminist lesbian Combahee River Collective, “because we believe that work must be organized for the collective benefit of those who do the work and create the products, and not for the profit of the bosses.”[2]


Moving beyond critique, a positive, productive aspect of accumulation demands uncovering in order to foster and to maintain collective struggle. One important domain in which this potential must be nourished is the cultural sphere. Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino insist that Third Cinema enacts “the construction of a throbbing, living reality”[3] and is “fit for a new kind of human being, for what each one of us has the possibility of becoming.”[4] For Frantz Fanon, a liberatory culture that contests expropriation “is the whole body of efforts made by a people in the sphere of thought to describe, justify, and praise the action through which that people has created itself and keeps itself in existence.”[5] Social revolution is thus the product of a communal counter-accumulation—one of wisdom, of practice, of creativity, of intimacy. Here, excess no longer names the cordoning off of political and economic necessities along racist, orientalist, sexist, transphobic, and classist lines, but instead signals a flashpoint where centuries of iniquity transform qualitatively into alternative, unprecedented futures.


The organizing committee of the 2022 First Forum Conference encourages graduate students in cinema and media studies, and throughout the humanities and social sciences, to submit abstracts for papers, artwork, or other creative projects which contend with the generative or the destructive aspects of accumulation and excess. We ask that all submissions consider or utilize audiovisual media forms. However, the analytical context may be political, economic, phenomenological, ecological, industrial, racial, sexual—any theoretical space in which accumulation and excess make a difference.


Potential areas of focus include but are not limited to:


  • Film and media histories of the Global South – counter-lineages of theory and practice
  • Global Marxism(s) and other left perspectives – tradition, translation, transmediation
  • Intersections of film and media practice with labor organizing
  • Media pedagogies and their institutional imbrication in the neoliberal university
  • Sensorial excess and the neoliberal attention economy
  • Non-binary sex and gender structures, and their pre-/anti-colonial histories
  • Indigenous aesthetic traditions and their remediations
  • Digital and virtual community-building
  • Accumulation of archival materials as a form of conservation
  • Expropriation of art and other cultural objects by museums and archives
  • Media industries’ role in the emission and accumulation of environmental pollutants
  • Ecological crisis onscreen
  • Screening migratory trajectories and the formations of diasporic communities


Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words and a bio of no more than 150 words. Presentations will be either 15 or 20 minutes, depending upon the constitution of each panel. Traditional scholarly papers as well as creative projects, short films, and other non-traditional submissions will be considered. The conference will take place on the 20th and 21st of October. We currently anticipate the conference proceeding in person, but moving to a hybrid or entirely virtual format will remain possible in accordance with the exigencies of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please email submissions and questions to by July 15, 2022.

[1].  Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (D.C.: Howard University Press, 1982), 212.

[2].  The Combahee River Collective, “A Black Feminist Statement,” published in Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought, edited by Beverly Guy-Sheftall (New York: The New Press, 1995), 235.

[3].  Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino, “Towards a Third Cinema: Notes and Experiences for the Development of a Cinema of Liberation in the Third World,” published in Film Manifestos and Global Cinema Cultures: A Critical Anthology, edited by Scott MacKenzie (Berkeley: UC Press, 2014), 241.

[4].  Solanas and Getino, 249.

[5].  Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, translated by Constance Farrington (New York: Grove Press, 1963), 233.