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February 1997, Week 3


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Terri Ginsberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 19 Feb 1997 10:54:35 -0500
text/plain (124 lines)
                             February 1997
Terri Ginsberg, Chair, 80 Central Park West #15H, New York, New York 10023
Semester's greetings to all SCS Caucus on Class members and affiliates!
This memo is to update you on Caucus on Class activities for the academic
year 1996-97.
First, in case you haven't been Web-surfing in the direction of SCS, you may
wish to visit the Caucus on Class Web site, which has been in operation
since August of last year.  There, you will find posted our Caucus mission
statement, 1997 conference information, links to numerous other progressive
and left-oriented organizations and sites, and a "guest book" for your
comments, critiques, and suggestions, which are all welcome and greatly
encouraged.  The URL address is: .  It may
also be accessed via the SCS home page, located at:
Second, and more important, are our plans for the upcoming SCS conference in
Ottawa (May 15-18, 1997).  This year, the Caucus on Class will host two
panels, co-host one workshop (with the Graduate Student Caucus), and sponsor
the screenings of two films.
Our first panel is entitled "Class Politics, Criminal Pleasures, 'Noir' and
'Neo-Noir'" and includes the following papers:
1)  "Film Noir's Inverted Dream of Home" -- Paul Arthur (Montclair State U.)
2)  "Middle-Class Values Under the Neo-Noir Light in the Coen Brothers'
Films: From BLOOD SIMPLE to FARGO" -- Carol L. Robinson (Middle Georgia College)
3)  "The Resistance of the 'Femme Fatale' Reconsidered" -- Jennifer Carrig
(Arizona State U.)
4)  "Home Is Where the Gun/Syringe/Cleanser Is: 'Film Noir' and the Criminal
Class in PULP FICTION" -- Robert Bodle (Arizona State U.)
As is evident by these titles, this panel has been constituted to enable
critique of the current (re)turn to film noir in both the film industry and
film scholarship, and to open the question of "noir" onto a more
materially-based terrain.
Our second panel is entitled "Fundamentalist Fictions: Politics and/of
Hermeneutics in Contemporary Moving-Image Culture" and includes the
following papers:
1)  "Hollywood Fundamentalism and the Global Phallus: Queer Dependence,
Alien High-Tech Labor, and Global Consumption in INDEPENDENCE DAY" -- Joseba
Gabilondo (Bryn Mawr College)
2)  "Casuistry and Historical Reaction in Eli Cohen's THE QUARREL" -- Terri
Ginsberg (NYU)
3)  "Nostalgia for the Organic-Redemptive in Contemporary Body Theory and
Horror Film" -- Kent Casper (U. of Colorado, Denver)
Clearly the focus here is on the rightward turn in interpretive cinematic
and cine-theoretical strategies, including those associated with the
politics of identity and its latest discursive development, the new cultural
The workshop we are co-hosting with the Graduate Student Caucus is entitled
"Labor and the Contemporary Academy: A Collective Workshop."  Special guest
speakers are:
1)  Gordon Lafer (GESO/Yale U.)
2)  Jerry Lee Lembcke (Jobs With Justice/Holy Cross College)
3)  Paula Willoquet-Maricondi (Indiana U.)
The focus of this workshop will coincide critically with that of this year's
Plenary, which focuses on strategies for ensuring the future of film/tv
studies vis-a-vis the monumental structural, systemic, and institutional
shifts that have been developing across academia, and certainly follows from
issues raised, inter alia, by the Caucus on Class/Graduate Student Caucus
joint statement to the Executive Council (included in the Fall 1996 SCS
mailing; also available at and the Coordinating
Committee on Race, Class and Gender's letter to the SCS President (a greatly
revised and updated version of which was finally sent, after much lively and
often heated debate across the CAUCUS-L listserver, to Janice Welsch in
early October; copies are available upon request).
Finally, the two films we will be screening at the Ottawa conference are:
1) STRUGGLES IN STEEL (dir. Tony Buba and Ray Henderson, USA, 1995)
Description:  When a local television station did a program about the
closing of a major steel mill in Duquesne, outside of Pittsburgh, Ray
Henderson, a former mill employee who had worked there for 15 years,
couldn't help notice that not one black worker was shown.  This despite the
fact that African-American workers had formed a critical part of the labor
force in western Pennsylvania for 125 years.  With his old friend and
independent filmmaker, Tony Buba, Henderson set out to collaborate on a
history of African-Americans and their contributions not just to the steel
industry, but to the labor movement itself.  Through eloquent living
witnesses and revelatory archival footage, STRUGGLES IN STEEL presents a
striking counterpoint to the stereotypical black male image.
2) GAY CUBA (dir. Sonja deVries, Cuba/USA, 1995)
Description:  With a dynamic cast of characters, including a radio show
host, a union leader, a drag queen and a musician, GAY CUBA takes us through
the personal experiences of family, society, politics and culture for
lesbian and gay Cubans.  Including stunning archival footage, the film
demonstrates the sometimes contradictory and always changing reality of a
society that considers itself to be "in the 36th year of revolution."
If you are unable to attend the conference and would like distribution
information on these films, please contact me at the address or telephone
number listed above, or via e-mail.
As always, I encourage as many of you as possible to attend the conference.
Your presence and participation are needed now more than ever.  For the
convenience of those of you who do plan to attend, I will be sending out a
brief pre-conference reminder notice in early May, in which will be listed
times and dates of our Caucus on Class events as well as those of other
caucuses and individuals which should be of interest to Caucus on Class
members and affiliates.
Best wishes for a productive Spring semester.
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