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March 2012, Week 1


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 2 Mar 2012 10:03:27 +1300
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Alan Wright <[log in to unmask]>
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The recent earthquakes in Chile, Christchurch and Japan have left a host of powerful images in the 
minds and memories of millions of people around the world. Film has always played a crucial role 
in the imagination of disaster. From its earliest days, cinema has registered the impact of seismic 
events. The aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake is recorded on film. In New Zealand, 
footage from the Napier earthquake of 1931 shows the destruction of the town. Hollywood even 
recast New Zealand in Green Dolphin Street (Saville, 1947) as the fictional setting for a special 
effects mega-quake and tsunami. 

An earthquake is also a conceptual event of telluric proportions. An emergent seismic 
consciousness, reflected in a number of contemporary films from Iran, Chile, Haiti, Japan, Greece, 
Turkey, Italy, Korea, the USA and New Zealand, has shaken to the core those solid and secure 
political, economic, ethical and ontological categories which ground the project of modernity in its 
current globalised form. Perhaps the spate of earthquakes in 2010-11 can serve a similar function 
for our present geopolitical formation as the famous Lisbon earthquake of 1755 held for the age of 

The earthquake indicates a fissure, a rupture that forces us to reconsider our established notions of 
film history and criticism. Faultlines, by definition, are located on the edges of tectonic plates. Film 
history and theory too must confront the tectonic shift in focus away from the centre (Europe, North 
America) toward the periphery (the Southern Cone, the Pacific Rim, China, Central Asia and the 
Caucasus, the Mediterranean Basin and North Africa). 

Papers are invited which address any of the following issues:
 fictional and non-fictional representation of earthquakes in film 
 narrative form, genre and the cinematic image 
 archival footage and digital witnessing (digital camera, phone, youtube, facebook etc) 
 social memory and history 
 modernity, film and ruins 
 heritage, home, exile 
 mourning, trauma and survival 
 disaster as media spectacle 
 alternative forms of film and media production, distribution and exhibition 
 racial, ethnic and indigenous experience of natural disaster 
 urban planning and renewal 
 disaster capitalism and compassion fatigue 
 local and national politics 
 international solidarity and community activism 
 banality, catastrophe and everyday life 
 the temporality of crisis, the event and emergency 

Please submit an abstract of 250 words by March 24th, 2012, along with a short biography, to 
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This book will be published by Intellect Press. 

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