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March 2013, Week 3


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David Johnson <[log in to unmask]>
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 15 Mar 2013 09:19:09 -0400
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Book Collection: Cinephilia and Teaching
Editors: Rashna Wadia Richards and David T. Johnson
Abstract Deadline: June 1, 2013

We invite contributions to Cinephilia and Teaching, an edited collection of essays clustered around ideas of cinephilia and pedagogy. While essays may explicitly interrogate connections between ciné-love and teaching, we envision a collection that explores both concepts broadly, creating a productive dialogue between cinephilia and education, a long-neglected relationship in Film Studies.

In the introduction to their 2012 MLA collection Teaching Film, Lucy Fischer and Patrice Petro describe a central tension that characterizes the field: while Film Studies appears to belong to "the advanced guard—at times leading the way in the humanities," it "still suffers from a certain lack of recognition and its attendant deprivations." Such ambivalence is often reflected in the field's own attitude toward its subjects, and few sites of inquiry have demonstrated that tension more, and perhaps better, than cinephilia, a discourse traditionally associated with an obsessive love of cinema and its fragments, details, and remains. It is precisely these associations with fetishism that led to the scholarly dismissal of cinephilia in the 1960s. Thriving on the spirit of counterculture, Film Studies blossomed into an academic discipline by eschewing ciné-love in order to engage in systematic, critical inquiry. As Laura Mulvey notes in a recent dialogue with Peter Wollen, the transition "from cinephilia to film studies" occurred because "[w]hat begins with cinephilia, with the love of Hollywood, . . . becomes the theoretical study of Hollywood, becomes also a sustained critique of the ideology of Hollywood," and this critique is feasible only via "a rejection of your own cinephilia." Of course, even during that era of anti-cinephilic fervor, cinephilia never entirely disappeared from the experience of teaching and learning about film.

More recently, cinephilia has strongly re-entered Film Studies, playing a vital role in the field's quest for (re)definition in the era of new media and new avenues for criticism. In the last decade, cinephilia has been the subject of edited collections like Movie Mutations: The Changing Face of World Cinephilia; Cinephilia: Movies, Love, and Memory; Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Reproduction (in two volumes, no less); and monographs like Cinephilia and History, or the Wind in the Trees and Cinematic Flashes: Cinephilia and Classical Hollywood. Cinema Journal and Framework have also devoted special dossiers and issues, respectively, to the subject. Developments in the digital sphere, too, have enabled immense cinephilic discourse, in writing and in video, and we have seen more fluidity between academic and non-academic work, with scholars frequently writing in non-institutional contexts and popular critics exerting more influence on academic scholars.

Given its rising significance, it is curious that so little attention has been paid to how teaching engages with, or avoids, cinephilia. The overall goal of Cinephilia and Teaching is to consider the relationship between cinephilia and pedagogy from multiple locations and perspectives, both in and outside of university settings. Contributors may consider but are not limited to the following questions about cinephilia's connection with teaching:

·         Is there such a thing as cinephiliac pedagogy?

·         Can the love of cinema inform the serious study of cinema for today's student?

·         How does cinephilia inflect teaching in national and transnational contexts both in and outside of English-language institutions?

·         Can cinephilia expand beyond its primary object of desire to encompass the teaching of television and new media?

·         How might cinephilia serve as a site for conceiving pedagogy in broader ways, ones that extend well beyond the walls of the academy and potentially include those digital sites where, surely, if learning is taking place (as it is), teaching is as well?

·         Might we consider cinema itself to be its own best "teacher"? If so, how do various films and filmmakers engage in pedagogical practices?

·         How might we negotiate this relationship in ways that would productively think about why a cinema education matters today, whether it takes place in an academic setting or not?

·         Might the 1960s rejection of cinephilia bear some warnings we might heed? In our rush to embrace its return, are we neglecting important pedagogical consequences that cinephilia's often optimistic tone may be inclined to ignore?

Please email a 500-word abstract and a short biographical note to [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> and [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> by June 1, 2013. Complete essays will be due by December 31, 2013.

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