Call for Proposals
Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS)
March 19-23, 2014 in Seattle
The Mind in Midcentury Media: Mentalities on the Cusp of the Digital Age
It can be argued, using a Foucauldian formulation, that the postwar period is the beginning of the current digital episteme as changes to media and culture were shaped by the ramping up of American capitalism, cold war diplomacy, and the globalization of youth and technology. This panel will feature papers that focus on the ways in which theories of mind (while keeping conscious of the political and cultural ramifications of this theme) serve as reciprocating structures within media from the 1950s to the 1980s. These ideas shaped the ways that the mind and mentalities were imagined onscreen, and in turn these media served to shape popular conceptions of how minds worked and how character was formed (extending upwards toward the larger totality that is society).
Theories of the mind have been crucial to both the production and critique of film and media throughout the twentieth century. While psychoanalysis gained prominence within film studies during the 1970s, with the rise of cultural studies and the increasing dispersion of pop-neuroscience, psychoanalysis became, once again, the bad object of public – and sometimes scholarly – discourse. But in the postwar period, other models of the mind – behaviorism, phenomenology, and cybernetics (and that sweet, popular child of psychoanalysis – ego psychology) – also served up explanatory concepts for understanding and producing film, television, and electronic/digital media in an American culture dominated by movies, advertising, glossy magazines, paperbacks and screens of many shapes and sizes.
Consequently, this panel seeks papers that examine films, television shows, computer programs, and print and visual cultural objects from the 1950s to the early 1980s that served to shape, or were shaped by, popular conceptions of the mind (or more colloquially, the self). Papers could address the ways in which ideas about the mind were represented in a given media production or the ways in which these same mentalities can serve to explain the context in which these programs were developed and produced. Although the films of Alfred Hitchcock fall within the above definition, this panel seeks papers that look at media in a broader context that includes feature films but also documentaries, avant-garde media, teaching machines, industrial and educational films, television programs and commercials and such.
I am particularly interest in papers that focus on documentary and para-documentary texts (such as industrials, educational media, and the avant-garde).
Please send an abstract of 250-300 words, 3-5 bibliographic sources and a short bio to Dan Leopard ([log in to unmask]) by August 5, 2013. Submissions will be responded to by August 15, 2013.
Media Studies and Communication
Saint Mary's College of California
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Teaching with the Screen: Pedagogy, Agency, and Media Culture
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