Call for Abstracts: Special Issue on Cinematic Space

Kathryn Hardy's picture
Call for Papers
July 15, 2016
Missouri, United States
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Area Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Film and Film History, Popular Culture Studies

Wide Screen, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal dedicated to the study of cinema, television, and new media, calls for papers for inclusion in a special issue on the cinematic production of space.

If social space is a social product, as Henri Lefebvre has argued, cinema is multiply implicated in its production. First, cinema audiovisually represents space at different scales, whether local, national, or transnational, normalizing or contesting spatial imaginaries. Secondly, social practices of spatial production emerge in the course of cinematic production, circulation, and consumption. The spaces of producers’ offices, film sets, post-production studios, and cinema halls, among many others, enable certain social — and cinematic — configurations, while foreclosing others. The distinctive materialities of celluloid and digital media organize practices of circulation. Papers that focus on literal cinematic real estate — studio lots and exhibition spaces alike — are as welcome as those addressing the representation of space in cinematic texts. Papers that address both aspects of spatial production are especially welcome.

Cinema, along with other audiovisual mass-mediation, does not merely allow pre-existing social and geographic spaces to be pictured on screens. Rather, cinema lays out emergent chronotopes, images in which “space becomes charged and responsive to the movements of time, plot, and history,” (Bakhtin 1984), shifting existing social imaginaries and producing new ones through chronotopic sketches of visible futures and pasts. Cinema can subvert place-based locality in postcolonies like Nigeria, where, according to Brian Larkin, “a trip to the cinema has always been translocal,” as “American realities, Indian emotions, and Hong Kong choreography have long occupied Nigerian cinema screens” (2008: 124). Likewise, images of movement as well as transnational practices of media production are implicated in the emergence of what Yingjin Zhang calls “polylocality,” where possibilities of translocality are opened, but often blocked (2010). Papers that attend to shifting and distinctive practices of representing “charged and responsive” space in different national cinematic regimes are welcomed, as are those that interrogate cinematic chronotopes articulated within, across, or in spite of national boundaries and national spatial imaginaries. This special issue seeks papers that will be attentive to the emergent ways in which cinema mediates spatiality across sociohistorical configurations.

Papers may focus on any form of cinema, any geographic area at any scale. Papers that treat other forms of media alongside cinema are welcome, and papers that integrate filmic and social analysis are especially desirable. Disciplinary perspective is open. Please send abstracts of 250-300 words to by July 15th, 2016.

Contact Info: 

Kathryn Hardy

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