Appended below is a CFP for a panel considering the function and value of cinema studies as an academic discipline for the meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA) to be held April 4-6, 2003 at Cal State San Marcos. The document should speak for itself, but a word about the ACLA meeting is called for since it is dramatically different from most others. At most conferences panels convene once, panelists read papers, there is (one hopes) a useful exchange of ideas, and the project ends. At the ACLA meeting each panel ? properly called a seminar ? meets for some two and a half hours each day for three days, during which half a dozen to a dozen related papers are read, discussed, questioned, and revisited. At most conferences most of the people attending any panel are simply audience members. At the ACLA meeting many if not most of the group attending each seminar will be those who have prepared papers for delivery and therefore have thought systematically about the issues being discussed. While guests?usually those participating actively in other seminars ? are common and welcome, the character of each seminar is shaped by those presenting papers in it. As a result the ACLA meeting offers learning opportunities perhaps unmatched at any other conference. For more info on the conference visit the conference website: www.csusm.edu/acla2003 For more info on the ACLA visit the organization website: http://www.acla.org/index2_frames.html For more info on this seminar please contact me via return e-mail. ============================================================================= WHAT TO SAY ABOUT A FILM: PROSPECTS FOR HUMANISTIC DISCOURSE IS A POST-DISCIPLINARY AGE Historically, departments of literature existed as instruments for transmitting a civilization's most honored texts, and the keys for reading them, from one generation to the next ? and, along with these texts, the civilization's culture and values. In a "post-everything" age, the premises that anchored this enterprise are called into radical question; university humanities departments, can no longer justify their role by appeals to conventional values. Indeed, given contemporary preoccupations, a field such as comparative literature, for all its capaciousness, seems especially vulnerable to attack because of its (ostensive) focus on texts rather than on persons, politics, or programs. Since departments of literature have regularly employed ?even defined -- the discourses of literary criticism, an attempt to reconsider the role of literary study in the contemporary world has to consider as well the perennially problematic question of the function of criticism. This seminar proposes to return again to this question, inflected in this instance as "the function of academic criticism at the present post-modern time." Because notions of what counts as a text worth critical analysis have changed dramatically, the seminar proposes to re-examine the role of criticism by focusing ? significantly but not exclusively ? on a kind of criticism that until recently was virtually unknown in literature departments, film criticism, and papers that consider approaches to cinema studies are especially welcome. Nevertheless we invite papers that deal with any aspect of the question of how the enterprise of "literary study" should be pursued and can be justified absent the cultural assurances of a more innocent past. Some possible topics, in addition to inquiries into specific films or the work of specific authors/auteurs, might include: - Textual study and elite culture - The value of aesthetic education in the post modern world - The public function of the academic intellectual - "Greatness" as a factor in the study of texts - Walter Benjamin revisited: what the academic study of film implies for the humanities - I.A. Richards revisited: "aesthetics" and politics in post-modernity - McLuhan revisited: the political implications of specific media - Arnold revisited: texts and touchstones - Teachers teaching students about student culture - Pleasure as a valid educational goal - Film study and canon formation - Teaching texts vs, using texts to teach other things - Teaching literature when authorship is dead [or in the hands of a multinational corporation] - Art and democracy Proposals, abstracts or inquiries ? preferably by e-mail -- to Mike Frank; e-mail address: [log in to unmask] [Regular mail address: Mike Frank/Dep't. of English/Bentley College/Waltham, MA 02452.] Deadline for ---- For past messages, visit the Screen-L Archives: http://bama.ua.edu/archives/screen-l.html receipt of paper proposals: 23 September.