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November 2007, Week 3


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Mark Nornes <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 17 Nov 2007 08:41:22 -0500
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Call for Papers
Permanent Seminar on the History of Film Theory

Udine International Conference, March 3 – 4, 2008

Recently, an international network gave life to a Permanent Seminar
on the History of Film Theory. The Udine Conference will host on
March 3 and 4 the first meeting organized by the seminar. See:

The new Scientific Board of the History of Film Theory invites
proposals for papers to be delivered during the Udine Conference. At
this first meeting we are interested in giving special emphasis to
the 1910s. However, at this inaugural moment, we also encourage
papers that attempt to situate the project in and around the cinema
century. This does not mean absolute limitation to the 20th century
since we are increasingly aware of how the future of the moving
image future is implicated in the study of the technological past.
Send one-page proposals by January 31 to:

Francesco Casetti: [log in to unmask]

Jane Gaines: [log in to unmask]

Suggested topics:
What are theories and when was theory?
             Observations and insights about the emerging cinematic
object at its inception in the 1910s; reconsideration of the
structure of the century’s debates in the light of new archaeologies
of film theory: art vs. industry; the avant-garde vs. classical
narrative, realism vs. modernism, documentary vs. fiction;
theoretical routes not taken; how to deal with suggestive fragments;
the new emerging support system considered in the light of the
receding one; research projects for another millennium; the
unrealized potential of ideas at the inception; cinema as parallel to
and/or culmination of earlier forms: theatre, the novel,
architecture, sculpture; medium specificity reconsidered: motion,
light, depth. What is the difference between “Grand Theory” and
The History/Theory Relation
             The legacy of this relation in historical perspective.
The field may be divided on the question of whether or not this is a
false division. Do we see this relation as synonymous,
incommensurate, or interdependent? What are the theoretical
assumptions that inform the project of the production of histories of
film theories? How has archival work shaped theoretical work and
theoretical emphasis produced archival “discovery”?
Excavation of the empirical-theoretical spectator as historicized and
Theoretical Figures and Movements
Social conditions for the production of theories of emerging
technologies; considerations of who thought about cinema, wrote about
it, and enabled the vehicles for its dissemination; existence of film
clubs, international exhibition, revolutionary movements; the
philosophical traditions that have nurtured film theories; Marx and
film theory cross-culturally understood. Technological invention and
inventors as sources of theoretical ideas.

Philosophy of Film History
             Reconsiderations of the “historical turn” in the field;
why take up film history and theories of film at the moment of the
disappearance of the object; how or whether to reconceptualize the
project as “media histories” or the history of mimetic technologies;
historical writing as the production of continuity; straightness and
linearity as opposed to discontinuity and contingency; the productive
or unproductive confusion between the historical event and the
“historiographic machine.” What are the methodological problems faced
by the work of intellectual historiography? What does the machine’s
creation of artificial time have to tell us about historical time?
When is modernity and whether cinema is its incarnation as a question
of the philosophy of film history.
One World Film Theory
             Geographical location and theoretical travel. Has
“theory followed the film” or not followed it? The international
“traffic in film” in the 1910s; the “universal language” claim; the
establishment of canons; economic factors in institutionalization;
travel and translation; the continential routes of exhibition,
reception, and criticism; case studies in translation and reception;
the reversal of direction, from Europe to Asia and Asia to Europe.

The Scientific Board of the Permanent Seminar:
Dudley Andrew (Yale University)
Chris Berry (University of London- Goldsmiths)
Natasha Durovicova (University of Iowa)
André Gaudreault (University of Montreal)
Vinzenz Hediger (University of Bochum)
Mark Nornes (University of Michigan)
Jane Gaines (Columbia University and Duke University)
Francesco Casetti (University of Milan)

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