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April 2009, Week 3


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Meers Philippe <[log in to unmask]>
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 17 Apr 2009 09:53:54 +0200
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Media, Communication and the Spectacle

Rotterdam, 26-27 November 2009

Venue: Erasmus University Rotterdam


Organised by: 



Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture





Gender and Communication section;

Communication and Democracy section;

Film Studies section;

Young Scholars' Network. <> 



"Today's wind is one of spectacle. It may not be of our making. Its
origins may not be

the pure lands of the Enlightenment but instead the commercial barrens
of advertising

and entertainment. But use it we must, for without the wind, we are
becalmed, stuck,

going nowhere"

Andrew Boyd and Stephen Duncombe (2004) 'The Manufacture of Dissent:

the Left Can Learn from Las Vegas', Journal of Aesthetics & Protest



Claims about the spectacularisation of different aspects of contemporary
life are often

heard, and the media are often blamed for the part they play in

spectacularised takes on political and social questions. The idea of
'spectacle' is

normally presented as pervasive, as it is believed to trivialise the
issues at stake, and

uncritically gives oxygen to simplifying, often stigmatising,
stereotypes. Now-classic

works in media studies (such as Daniel Boorstin's The Image or Neil

Amusing Ourselves Up to Death) have addressed these issues, exercising

undeniable influence over media scholarship. Influenced by the seminal
work of Guy

Debord (Society of Spectacle, 1967) through which the notion of
spectacle actually

transcended its media specificity, contemporary readings of Debord
stress the need to

re-conceptualise the idea of the spectacle in relation to the current
neo-liberal consumer

media culture.


Viewing the notion of the spectacle in broad terms, this colloquium
seeks to bring

together scholarly work from academic fields such as democracy and (new)
media, as

well as journalism and film studies. The spectacle provides a powerful
concept able to

initiate a new "wind" in media and communication studies. It relates to
theories on

'hyperreality', the 'gaze', 'performance' and the 'scopic' as well as to
theories on active

popular media consumption, the social meanings and impacts of

representation, and the relationship between media and culture, even
extending to

media and cultural policies. The cultural, economic, technological,
social, and political

conditions underpinning the society of the spectacle provide insights
into the study and

analysis of media production, representation and reception.


This colloquium aims to provide a broad overview of recent theories and
empirical work

engaging with the phenomenon of the spectacle by focussing on media and

communication in relation to film studies, gender and democracy. This
conference is

intended to discuss a diversity of perspectives and reflections on the
media as a

spectacle from a wide range of approaches. 


We invite paper and panel proposals related to the central theme of the

including (but not limited to) the following topics:


_ The notion of society of the spectacle.

_ Culture as spectacle in the media.

_ The use of performance and spectacle by protest movements, creating or

part of media events

_ Infotainment as spectacle

_ Hollywood and spectacular images: blockbusters, CGI, etc.

_ Consuming the spectacle: historical and contemporary practices of
cinema going.

_ Behind the screens of the spectacle: the political economy of cultural

_ Screening the (un)spectacular? World cinemas and/as alternative screen

_ Fandom, cult media/film and performative consumption

_ Youtube and citizens' spectacularised self-presentation

_ The hyperreality of the spectacle of 'truth' (linked to information,

representations, visual culture as such, etc.).

_ The materiality of information production as commodity fetishism

become images and the other way around).

_ Private/public debate and the spectacle of bodies, gendered bodies,
politics, etc.

_ The imaginary and media performativity.

_ Vision and Voyeurism: The Politics of Surveillance Post-9/11



Proposals: abstracts of max. 400 words can be submitted via e-mail to:

[log in to unmask] Abstracts may be submitted as attachment in word,
.rtf or .txt format

or embedded in the body of the email. Please make sure to include the
name of the

author(s), affiliation, contact address, and email. Young scholars are
also encouraged to

apply. When submitting your abstract, please indicate to which section
you are

submitting: Gender and Communication, Communication and Democracy, or


Deadline for sending in the paper abstract is 1 May 2009. Notification
of selection will be

no later than 15 June 2009.








Philippe Meers (PhD)

Associate Professor

Research Group Visual Culture

Department of Communication Studies

University of Antwerp

Sint-Jacobstraat 2

BE-2000 Antwerp

tel: **/32/3/275.55.85

fax: **/32/3/275.57.87

e-mail:    [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]> 




              ECREA film studies section

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