Call for Papers
Critical Perspectives on the Films of Adam Curtis
Online Conference, Wednesday 8th September 2021
Critical Perspectives on the Films of Adam Curtis is a one-day, interdisciplinary conference hosted in collaboration with the University of Nottingham’s Institute for Screen Industries Research which critically examines the films of the documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis.
The keynote speaker for the conference is Professor Brian Winston<https://staff.lincoln.ac.uk/bwinston>. Professor Winston is the Chair of the Lincoln School of Film and Media, founding chair of the British Association of Film, Television and Media Studies and has served as a governor of the British Film Institute. He has published over 17 books as well as receiving a US prime-time Emmy for documentary script writing and a Special Jury prize from the British University Council for Film and Video.
To register for the conference please visit our Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/critical-perspectives-on-the-films-of-adam-curtis-tickets-149549357153
Adam Curtis is one of Britain’s most prominent and controversial documentary filmmakers. From 1992’s BAFTA award winning warning about the dangers of technocracy in Pandora’s Box to his critical analysis of the ideological origins of Islamic terrorism in 2015’s Bitter Lake, Curtis ranges over a vast historical, cultural and intellectual canvas.
For some cultural commentators, Curtis’ documentaries, like the recent six-film BBC series Can’t Get You Out of My Head, are ‘dazzling masterpieces’ which bring to life concepts and approaches borrowed from the history of emotions, sociology, psychology and philosophy. For others, Curtis uses his privileged access to BBC archives to patch together discrete phenomena – from the Sex Pistols’ Who Killed Bambi to the revolutionary operas of Chairman Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing – into an incoherent and misguided grand narrative of historical and sociological change.
Despite this prominence (or perhaps because of it), Curtis’ films and the history of ideas they present has received very little academic scrutiny. This scrutiny could extend to the range of material collated by Curtis, how these are presented or constructed, as well as the reception of his ideas among critics and a broader public. In this sense, the films of Adam Curtis serve as a useful vehicle to explore broader intellectual questions: How do scholars approach film as a historical text? How to filmmakers convey political concepts and ideas? How are documentary films related to more conventional sources of political thought and cultural practice?
Potential approaches and topics could include, but are not limited to:
* The History of Emotions
* Intellectual History/History of Ideas
* Conceptions of the Self
* Patterns/Time in History
* The Screen Archive in Historical Practical
* Critical Reception and Audiences
* The BBC and Public History
* iPlayer and YouTube as Distribution Form
* Locating Curtis in Film Traditions
It is intended that some contributors to the conference will have their papers published as part of an edited collection. There will also be the opportunity to publish shorter articles online.
To submit a short biography (of no more than 300 words) and an abstract (of no more than 300 words) for presentations of 20 minutes per paper to Dr David Robinson at [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
The call for papers will close on the 1st July 2021. Successful applicants will be notified no later than the 14th July 2021.
For conference news and updates on Twitter follow: @critical_adam<https://twitter.com/critical_adam>
For more information on the Institute for Screen Industries Research: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/research/groups/isir/index.aspx
Dr Liz Evans
Associate Professor of Film and Television Studies & Director of Teaching
Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies
University of Nottingham
Room B72, Trent Building
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
+44 (0) 115 951 4241<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Understanding Engagement in Transmedia Culture (2020, Routledge)
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