University of Toronto Cinema Studies Institute 2024 Annual Graduate Student Conference "Fragmentation"

deadline for submissions: 
November 24, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
B. Dalia Hatalova / University of Toronto

Call for Papers: FRAGMENTATION

2024 Annual Graduate Student Conference

University of Toronto Cinema Studies Institute

Friday, February 2nd to Saturday, February 3rd, 2024 ​


At 24, 48, 60, or 120 fragments per second, photographic images unite to create the movies. With discrete pieces at its basis, cinema has always been a disjointed art form, resting upon the illusion of fluidity that continually comes into being before the eyes of spectators. Classical Hollywood cinema's attempts to deny or evade this reality have been met with equally dedicated experimental practices that sought to utilize cinema's segmented nature. From Luis Buñuel's surrealist cross-cutting in Un Chien Andalou to Stan Brakhage's poetic abstractions in Mothlight, the filmic fragment is exposed and presented as an object of fascination in its own right. In the age of the digital, disjuncture has only been further accentuated on the level of pixels and glitches by a new generation of artists. As avant-garde filmmakers have struggled since the onset of cinema with the pieces that are held together as moving images, scholars have sought to likewise understand the implications of an art form whose popular manifestations rest upon the denial of its fragmentation.  

Cinema's ability to suture discrete images, places, and bodies together has come to the forefront of film theory from psychoanalysis through post-structuralism and into the realm of digital media studies in the 21st century. The connected fragments of moving images parallel Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno's description of the post-Enlightenment world of abstraction, where segmentation precedes a subsequent ideological unification. Meanwhile, according to Mary Ann Doane, the unification on-screen of discrete parts of the human body through the correlation between an actor's/actress's image and voice staves off our "fear of fragmentation." As digitalization reduces the film fragment from frame by frame to pixel by pixel, our ability to grasp the technicity behind the moving image apparition is complicated and obfuscated further and further. Shane Denson's work on discorrelation highlights that "moving images mediate our transition into a world of media not cut to human measure."  

The Cinema Studies Institute at the University of Toronto’s 2024 Graduate Conference seeks submissions that attempt to address the inheritance of the fragment in cinema and media. As moving images morph, the question "What is the stuff that films are made of?" remains relevant for emerging scholars. How do we utilize the unveiling of the disjuncture of cinema's underpinnings in contemporary theorizations? Are there alternative ways for uniting cinema's photographic fragments that could still be called "film"? How can the suture of fragmented bodies on-screen provide ways to foster empathy and social change? Does the fragmentation of cinema allow for a unification of fragmented and diasporic communities? How does cinema's position in the 21st century depend upon its ability to be taken apart and put together again, frame by frame, fragment by fragment?  


Sample topics might include but are not limited to:  

  • Abstraction ​
  • Apocalyptic imagery, earthquakes, a broken/fragmented Earth ​
  • Archival Fragments/Fragmented Archives ​
  • Assemblage/montage ​
  • Audience fragmentation ​
  • Borders/boundaries ​
  • Categorization disagreements within genre fandoms (audience/spectatorship) ​
  • Digital Afterlives ​
  • Discorrelation ​
  • Ephemerality/the ephemeral ​
  • Experimental film ​
  • Fragmentation and Diaspora ​
  • Fragmentation and Form ​
  • Fragmentation and violence ​
  • Fragmented bodies ​
  • Fragmented geographies ​
  • Fragmented self, personal/collective memory ​
  • Fragments & Genre (i.e. abject, uncanny, etc.) ​
  • Glitch Aesthetics ​
  • Historiographical Frameworks/Historiographical Disagreement ​
  • Identity and/or Ways of Being ​
  • In and beyond the frame ​
  • Media archaeology/ruminations ​
  • Mediation/re-mediation ​
  • Politics & the fragment ​
  • Post-cinema ​
  • Reception histories ​
  • Refractions (as through fragmented glass)/Light/Colour ​
  • Soundscapes/the voice ​

    We welcome English and French submissions from independent scholars and graduate students worldwide. Applicants must submit a brief abstract (300-500 words) and a bio of 50-100 words to by November 24, 2023. Conference acceptances will be sent out by the end of December. ​
    Submissions should provide the following information: 

  • Name & pronouns ​
  • Level of study and name of institution (if applicable) ​
  • Title ​
  • Abstract ​
  • Bio ​
  • 3-5 item bibliography ​