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August 2019, Week 3


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Lorrie Palmer <[log in to unmask]>
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 19 Aug 2019 23:28:31 +0000
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I'm pasting below the text of a CFP I would like to post to Screen-L subscribers. If the Subject Line could read "CFP - Public Housing in Global Film & Media, an anthology," that would be great. Thanks!

-Lorrie Palmer
Asst. Prof. of Film and Media Studies
Towson University,
Towson MD
[log in to unmask]



Call for Papers
Editor, Lorrie Palmer, Towson University

Italian public housing estate, Le Vele, just outside Naples, has led a parallel life—as the location for Gomorrah (a feature film and popular TV crime series) and as “the biggest international drugs and arms supermarket in western Europe” (Seymour). Britain’s Channel 4 digitally manipulated shots of the London Aylesbury estate in 2004 (already a shooting location for TV crime thrillers like Harry Brown, Spooks, and The Bill) to use as an onscreen ident for the network (adding rubbish, shopping trolleys, and satellite dishes), creating an urban dystopia that the residents later challenged. In these and other juxtapositions of fiction and reality, public housing often originates in postwar urban planning and its modernist discourse of progress. However, over time, “politicians and the media routinely focus on the exterior deterioration of tower blocks, creating in the public imaginary a symbolic association with social problems” (Palmer).

What happens to this symbolic association of urban life and public housing when it moves to the screenscapes of global film and media? This edited collection will interrogate the ways in which the social, cultural, and political articulation of power (and its lack) is reflected in the representational strategies of public housing and its inhabitants both East and West. It is the precise ‘genre’ of city space—the public housing project—that most overtly visualizes anxieties about alienation, criminality, immigration, and citizenship under increased urbanization. As contested sites of bureaucratic and ideological control, police and media focus, and spatialized identity practices, the towers and high-rises of institutional housing are compelling locations for onscreen narratives in which city dwellers map themselves in relation to those outside forces (and vice versa). Within this collection’s illustrative screen formats are critical intersections in which media production is both a tool of and a challenge to aesthetic and discursive constructions conflating urban populations with the built environment. The screens of public housing, therefore, comprise a significant reflection of the contemporary social and technological moment.

This interdisciplinary collection seeks to contextualize its Film and Media focus with perspectives from scholars working in Urban Studies, History, Sociology, Architecture, Political Science, Philosophy, Gender and LGBTQ Studies, Critical Race Theory, Cultural Studies, and any other relevant fields of inquiry. Analyses of fiction as well as non-fiction or non-narrative media are welcome.

Possible topics could include (but are not limited to):

Art / Architecture / Aesthetics
Digital Practices / Transmedia
Crime & Violence / Policing & Surveillance
Genres (sci-fi, action, comedy, horror, documentary) in film and television
Riots / Rebirth
Urban Planning / Geography / Mapping
Control & Containment
Urban Tourism (and its media discourse)
Media Format (cinema, videogame, television, political advertising, video essay,
multi-media works)
Globalization / Transnationalism / Urbanization / Gentrification
Political System / Government vs. the Individual or Community
Narrative and Visualization Strategies (dystopia, utopia, production, post-production)
Spatialization of Identity (race, ethnicity, gender, class, LGBTQ / national, local, global /
immigrant, diaspora)

(Some) Films/TV shows/Videogames set in or shot on location at public housing / council estates: Luther, season 1 (BBC, 2010), World War Z (Forster, 2013), Boyz n the Hood (Singleton, 2001), Set It Off (Gray, 1999), Menace II Society (Hughes Brothers, 1993), La Haine (Kassovitz, 1995), Banlieue 13 (Morel, 2004) and Banlieue 13: Ultimatum (Alessandrin, 2009), Harry Brown (Barber, 2009), The Bill (ITV, 1984-2010), Spooks (BBC, 2002-2011), Training Day (Fuqua, 2001), Let the Right One In (Alfredson, 2008), Dredd (Travis, 2012), Fish Tank (Arnold, 2009), Girlhood (Sciamma, 2014), The Selfish Giant (Barnard, 2013), Attack the Block (Cornish, 2011), Boss (Lionsgate Television, 2011-2012), Good Times (CBS, 1974-1979), Candyman [editor’s essay topic] (Rose, 1992), Watch_ Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal, 2014), Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (Rockstar North, 2004), Rigor Mortis (Original title: Geung si) (Mak, 2014), A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick, 1971), Straight Out of Brooklyn (Rich, 1991), Hatful of Rain (Zinneman, 1957), The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (Freidrichs, 2007), Down the Project: The Crisis of Public Housing (Broadman, 1982), Public Housing (Wiseman, 1997), Invisible Stories (HBO Asia, 2019), Dumplings (Chan, 2004), Lottery Ticket (White, 2010), Show Me a Hero (HBO Miniseries, 2015), The First Purge (McMurray, 2018), Imperial Dreams (Booth, 2017), Gomorrah (Garrone, 2009, and Sky Italia, 2014)

Please send a 300-word abstract, author bio, and a proposed bibliography – or any inquiries – to Lorrie Palmer ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>). Book chapters will likely be in the 8,000-10,000 word range. Proposals due Dec. 15.


Palmer, Lorrie. “Attack the Block: Monsters, Race, and Rewriting South London’s Outer Space,” Jump Cut, 56, Winter 2014-2015,

Seymour, Sophia. “Goodbye to Gomorrah: the end of Italy's most notorious housing estate.” The Guardian, 17 May, 2019,

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