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CALL FOR PAPERS: 

Subjected to Play: Locating the Subject in the Promise of Play
Cinema & Media Studies Graduate Student Conference
USC School of Cinematic Arts
Los Angeles, CA
October 16-17, 2016

As utopian aspirations for new and more participatory media meet the sobering realities of digital labor and the politics of self management, First Forum invites scholars to examine the ways play has shaped the rhetoric of subjectivity within academic and popular contexts as it relates to media production and consumption. The conference will investigate how we as cinema and media critics, teachers, fans, artists and activists are rethinking play and the promise of agency in order to understand how these modes of address interpret subjectivity in a diverse media landscape, how they enforce or destabilize subjective boundaries, and how they define our own identities in the process. 

Moreover, this year’s First Forum intends to critically explore the relationship between the classical notion of the cinematic subject and how newly evolving media languages emphasizing interactivity and gameification have resituated this subject within the highly mediated moment of today. What are the ethical implications of a playful relationship between subject – critic, artist, actor, avatar – and object – movie, game, novel, website? Where does the idea of an “active” subject fit within this historical narrative? How have ubiquitous screen technologies influenced our sense of interacting with the world and with others? How has media pedagogy responded to this interactive turn? What new demands are being asked of users and viewers as a result? 

Topics are encouraged to take a fluid approach to the theme and draw from a wide variety of critical lenses, as well as focus on any time period, genre, or medium.

Possible topics include:

the rhetoric of play; media archaeology and the history of interactivity; theories of play and subjectivity (phenomenology, post-structuralist, etc.); ethical play, newsgames, games for change; spectator and audience studies; gameification in the workplace, “playbor”; the representation of play and subjectivity in film (i.e. eXistenZ, Gamer); interactive cinema, second-
screen experiences; screen culture; gesture and play; hypertext, the Internet, and social media subjectivities; Virtual Reality; postcolonial studies of play; feminist identity and critiques of play; queer subjectivities, queering play; the failure of play; teaching play

In addition to panel presentations, this year’s First Forum is excited to offer a keynote address by renowned media scholar Dr. Vivian Sobchack, as well as alumni respondents and a roundtable discussion among USC faculty.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words for a 20-minute panel presentation as well as a brief bio of no more than 100 words. Non-traditional, creative projects are welcome.

***Please e-mail your submissions and inquiries to [log in to unmask] by June 3rd, 2016.***

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Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: http://www.tcf.ua.edu