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CFP: UPenn CIMS Grad Conference 2022: Yearning for the World

Yearning for the World: Mediating Proximity after Distanced Times

The inaugural University of Pennsylvania Cinema and Media Studies graduate  conference is pleased to invite our fellow graduate scholars to submit abstracts for this  year’s theme on “Yearning for the World.” The conference will take place in person,  from the evening of February 18th to the evening of February 19th.  

As we emerge from an intensive pandemic lockdown marked by global civil unrest and  increasing climate precarity, how might our scholarly endeavors within the field of  Cinema and Media Studies help navigate what it means to come back together after so  long apart? From the cries for a more just world that re-surfaced histories of anti colonial, global solidarity, and Marxist movements, to the ways screens mediated taken for-granted physical co-presence, the pandemic of 2020-2021 dramatically reshaped the  sensorial experience of what it means to be together in the world. Bodies bound by  pathogenic danger zones suddenly found life mediated by screens and media networks  that increasingly became social infrastructure itself. The increased rendering of life into  data—already a fraught arena—became an unavoidable necessity for most. 

This loss of normalcy found communities of all types turning to new ways of  understanding resources already at hand. Mutual aid projects and resistant media  practices proliferated through social media while the relative stall in new entertainment  led to revisiting and revising already-existing canons. All this while fluctuating  temperatures and markets pressed upon bodies already-bewildered by isolation. In this  pivotal moment, this conference asks: what’s been lost, what’s been found, and what  intractably remains the same? How might the projects of Cinema and Media Studies  scholars engage the “before” “during” and “after” of a pandemic whose unevenly  distributed effects have deeply unsettled our senses of being and belonging? How have  distant times re-shaped the politics and exigencies of our fields of knowledge and  practice? How do our projects as scholars, artists, and teachers already elaborate a much  needed different world?  

We welcome proposals to present traditional scholarly papers, multimodal  submissions, screenings, and hybrid presentational styles. 

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

• Filters, intimacy and biopolitics of breathing
• Elemental media, air and aerosol, and SARS-Cov2
• Emergent Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Aesthetic Modes/Genres
• Anti-racist and anti-colonial histories/practices of cinema and media
• Politically-engaged Aesthetic Practices (e.g., Forensic Architecture,
Scribe, Black Star Film Festival, Maysles Documentary Center, Isuma
Collective, Small-File Media Festival)
• Socially-distanced screen and media-based pedagogy
• Pandemic Media Socialities

• Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Spectatorial Subjectivity and Affect
• Screen-mediated liveness
• Re-“discovered” archives
• -A, -de,- and re-synchronous time
• Ecocritical Methodologies
• Critical Data Studies Methodologies
• Operative images, data mining and corporate power

Please send a title and a 250-word abstract together with 5 bibliographic items to upenngradconference@gmail.com by December 15, 2021.

Presentations should not exceed 15 minutes. Selected conference’s presentations will be notified by mid-January.

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