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*With apologies for cross-posting*

*CALL FOR PAPERS: ‘So Bad It’s Good’ (Society for Cinema and Media Studies
conference panel, Chicago, March 6-10, 2013)*

‘So bad it’s good’ is a familiar enough concept. It has often been invoked
by fans,
critics and academics in connection with certain kinds of movies and
certain kinds of
reception, being associated especially with cult film. Yet ‘bad’ can carry
a multitude
of meanings in a cult context. For this SCMS panel we seek work whose focus
is
specifically texts that are valued, by fans or critics, for their aesthetic
ineptitude or
failure – what in film studies is often called ‘badfilm’.

From *Plan 9 From Outer Space* (1959) to *The Room* (2003) to ‘viral’
internet videos
like Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ (2011), the text valued for its aesthetic
badness
is championed via a form of interpretive competence which rewards perceived
incompetence. However, while scholarship often invokes the concept of ‘so
bad it’s
good’, the texts and phenomena to which it refers have in fact received
little detailed
examination. What reading protocols, interpretive communities, or taste
hierarchies
are at play in this particular form of cult appreciation? Equally, does
ironic valuation
complicate or rather shore-up traditional frameworks of aesthetic value
and/or
assumptions about artistic intention?

We are inviting proposals for 20 minute papers on the subject of media
artifacts
commonly deemed ‘so bad they’re good’. Possible topics and approaches might
include:

- ‘So bad it’s good’ and reception (e.g.: studies of participatory
audiences, fan
criticism, cult communities, etc.)

- The aesthetics of ‘so bad it’s good’ (the function of traditional
aesthetic categories
such as value, intention, interpretation, irony, etc. in the
construction/appreciation of
these texts)

- ‘So bad it’s good’ and the internet (the role of video-sharing and social
media in the
growth of cults around badfilms, etc.)

- Intentional ‘so bad it’s good’ (e.g.: *Planet Terror*, *Tim and Eric
Awesome Show*
*Great Job*, *Look Around You*, etc.)

- ‘So bad it’s good’ and tastemakers/gatekeepers (e.g.: *Mystery Science
Theater*,
Found Footage Fest, Charlie Brooker, etc.)

- ‘So bad it’s good’ and comedy (comedy as textual or contextual
phenomenon/effect/
experience, etc.)

- The politics of ‘so bad it’s good’ (e.g.: the ‘othering’ of the bad text,
cult audiences
as subculture, the history and oppositional function of camp taste, etc.)

Please send abstracts of 250 words, along with a short bio (including
at least three bibliographic references) to Richard McCulloch (
[log in to unmask]) and James MacDowell ([log in to unmask])
by Monday August 20th. We will be in touch with our decision by Friday
August 24th.

-- 
Richard McCulloch
Associate Tutor/PhD Candidate
University of East Anglia
Norwich Research Park
Norfolk
NR4 7TJ

Academic Profile
http://eastanglia.academia.edu/RMcCulloch

Board Member
Fan Studies Network
http://fanstudies.wordpress.com

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