*Call For Proposals*
*“Transing Cinema and Media Studies”*
*Journal of Cinema and Media Studies* In Focus Section
Edited by Cáel M. Keegan (Grand Valley State University, he/him)
and Laura Horak (Carleton University, she/her)

In a recent *JCMS* In Focus on “Cripping Cinema and Media Studies” (2019)
Elizabeth Elcessor and Bill Kirkpatrick persuasively argue that centering a
disability perspective in cinema and media studies means far more than
looking for “the cripple in the text.” Rather, it is about “decentering the
physically and cognitively ‘normal’ character, the ‘normal’ viewer, the
‘normal’ producer, and so on” (140). This critical attention to how the
dynamics of power and normalization construct not only the content, but
also the form, reception, and production of media texts has profound
implications for every aspect of cinema and media studies.

Inspired by Elcessor and Kirkpatrick’s call to approach cinema and media
studies through the lenses of disability and able-bodiedness, we ask: What
happens to cinema and media studies when we center trans, Two Spirit,
nonbinary, intersex, and gender-nonconforming people, perspectives, and
cultural production? What becomes possible when we bring theoretical,
historical, and aesthetic approaches from the burgeoning interdisciplinary
field of transgender studies to cinema and media studies?

When we survey cinema and media scholarship approaching “trans” topics, we
notice a number of patterns that sometimes limit the inquiry taking place
at this intersection:

   - Media scholars write about transgender cinema and media without
   engaging work by transgender scholars or from the field of transgender
   studies. A few articles or book chapters (e.g. Jack Halberstam’s
   “transgender look”) therefore become the authority on all of trans cinema
   and media studies.

   - A handful of well-known and cisgender-authored works [e.g. The Crying
   Game (1992), Boys Don’t Cry (1999), Transparent (2014-19), and, most
   recently, Pose (2018-)] stand in for “transgender cinema and media” writ
   large. This narrow framing overlooks thousands of media texts made by
   transgender filmmakers as well as more interesting and less familiar works
   by cisgender cinema/media producers.

   - Media scholars reproduce a critically flat “representations of”
   approach that is chiefly interested in identifying “good” and “bad”
   representations of transgender identities. Scholars using this framing then
   spend more time criticizing stereotypes in mainstream media than
   discovering or elevating alternatives. Similarly, scholars assume that
   older cinema and media texts have nothing to offer critically because they
   contain “negative” representations.

   - Scholars celebrate more and “better” transgender representations in
   mainstream media without considering the intersectional limits and risks of
   visibility for actual transgender bodies, as explored in trans filmmaker
   Sam Feder’s conversation with Alex Juhasz in Jump Cut, “Does Visibility
   Equal Progress?” (2016); South Atlantic Quarterly’s 2017 special section,
   “Unrecognizable: On Trans Recognition in 2017”; and the anthology Trap
   Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility (2017).

   - Scholars treat “queer” theories and methods as if they are sufficient
   for understanding transgender phenomena without considering critical
   differences between these approaches, key divergences in the theoretical
   assessment of sexuality vs. gender, or the historical tensions between
   gay/lesbian and transgender politics.

   - In general, scholars treat instances of transgender as if a singular
   theoretical or analytic approach will apply, when in reality “trans” is a
   complex and intersectional set of phenomena.

For this *In Focus*, we are seeking short essays that describe visions and
versions of what a cinema and media studies informed by transgender
studies–and more broadly, by the experiences and insights of trans people
and scholars–could be. What does transgender studies mean for the field of
cinema and media studies? What are the vital differences between queer and
trans methods and modes of critique? What are the key transgender studies
texts that should inform a new era of media scholarship? What could a
genuinely trans cinema and media studies be and do? And, why is such a
trans cinema and media studies important to practice now?

Final contributions will be *2,500-3,000 words*. We are interested in a
variety of styles, ranging from personal essays to case studies,
manifestos, or example research projects. Contributors may be scholars of
any level, from undergraduate students through full professors, including
film- and media-makers. Black, Indigenous, and people-of-color contributors
are especially encouraged to submit.

Please send *a 150-word abstract and 100-word bio* to [log in to unmask] and
[log in to unmask] by*February 31, 2020*. We are also happy to answer
any questions.

Deadline for abstracts: February 29, 2020.
Deadline for full contribution: November 31, 2020.
Projected publication date: Winter 2022.
Online version:

Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: