Dear All,

The Screen Cultures Graduate Student Association of Northwestern University is pleased to invite our fellow graduate scholars to submit abstracts for this year’s Backward Glances conference with the theme of “Saturation,” which will be held in person, September 30-October 1, 2022. We’re also excited to share that our keynote speakers will be Professors Anna Kornbluh (UIC) and Cáel Keegan (Grand Valley State University). We would be grateful if you could share this CFP with graduate students in your program.

Proposals of no more than 300 words are due by June 15th. Please see our complete CFP below for more details.

Thank you,

Tatiana Anoushian

PhD student, Screen Cultures

Department of Radio/TV/Film

Northwestern University


Backward Glances 2022: Saturation

The Screen Cultures Graduate Student Conference 

Department of Radio/Television/Film, Northwestern University

September 30th-October 1st, 2022, in person

Keynote Speakers: Professors Anna Kornbluh (University of Illinois Chicago) and Cáel Keegan (Grand Valley State University)

Submission Deadline: June 15, 2022

Backward Glances, Northwestern University’s biennial graduate student media and historiography conference, returns in 2022 to engage the concept of Saturation. Broadly defined as a particularly intense mediated experience or an inability to absorb additional material, saturation operates as a way of thinking about the excesses of representation in, and our encounters with, media both past and present. 

From the 24/7 news cycle, to Zoom, to Peak TV, to TikTok, we live in an age of total media saturation. Drawing on this sense of ‘media overload,’ this year’s conference  invokes saturation as a heuristic for theorizing and historicizing media past and present. How, for example, does the concept of saturation differently operate on aesthetic, narrative, and industrial levels? What does it mean when “no more can be added”? How does saturation as a property of the image “color” our encounters with media? And how might saturation help us understand  historical shifts in screen media cultures?

We invite inventive explorations of media that embrace both the qualitative and quantitative ambiguities at work in the concept of saturation. Presentations may engage the theme of saturation broadly construed, including topics such as, but certainly not limited to:

We invite scholarship from across disciplines and methodologies, backward-, forward-, and present-facing. For consideration, please submit a document that includes paper title and a 300-word abstract to [log in to unmask] by June 15, 2022. In the body of the submission email, please include a 100-word bio including your name and institutional affiliation. Please send your abstract as an email attachment in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format and do not include any identifying information in the file containing your abstract. Participants will be notified by early July.

Keynote Speaker Bios:

Anna Kornbluh, University of Illinois Chicago

Anna Kornbluh's research and teaching interests center on Victorian literature and Critical Theory, with a special emphasis in formalism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, and theory of the novel.  She is the author of The Order of Forms: Realism, Formalism, and Social Space (University of Chicago 2019),  Marxist Film Theory and Fight Club (Bloomsbury "Film Theory in Practice” series, 2019), and Realizing Capital: Financial and Psychic Economies in Victorian Form (Fordham UP 2014).  Her current research concerns impersonality, objectivity, mediation, and abstraction as residual faculties of the literary in privatized urgent times.  She is the founding facilitator of two scholarly cooperatives: V21 Collective and InterCcECT.

Cáel Keegan, Grand Valley State University

Dr. Keegan is a cultural theorist of transgender/queer media and literature. He is primarily interested in the aesthetic forms transgender and queer people have created and how those forms shape our popular lifeworlds. He is the elected Secretary of the Queer Caucus of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and has appeared on Michigan Radio and in the Vice Guide to Cinema's episode on “New Trans Cinema.” Dr. Keegan teaches courses in queer, transgender, and feminist theories, popular and visual cultures, American studies, and LGBTQ cultures/identities/histories.

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