CFP: "Human Transitions, Global Change. People, images, forms, symbols and stories in global flows"

Teresa Biondi's picture
Call for Papers
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Film and Film History, Journalism and Media Studies, Literature


CoSMo - Comparative Studies in Modernism ISSN 2281-6658

Academic journal “A” (Area 10)




Human Transitions, Global Change

People, images, forms, symbols and stories in global flows


No. 15 (December 2019)


In the global era, the transformation of humanity is intrinsically connected to the intensification of transit of people on the surface of the earth — flows of migrants, tourists, professional and educational flows etc. — and simultaneously to transit of cultural elements — flows of images, forms, symbols, stories, codes, formats etc. — occurring in media culture.

Transit can be considered one of the privileged keys to interpreting contemporary culture and, in particular, the mutual relationship between visual media and world-society.

The multiple correlations and interrelationships among different forms of transit that are shaping the culture of the twenty-first century lend themselves to a broad and articulate reflection, especially on reciprocal transformations existing between the media ecosystem and global civilization, as they foster relations of unusual complexity.

The several forms of human movements on the surface of the earth — migration, tourism, training trips, business tourism and so on — define mobility as a common experience, even though individual purposes, objectives and destinations, as well as culture, social status and age are constantly different.

Various paradigms of fluidity (Bauman, Appadurai et al.), in fact, have illustrated not only the original manifestation of actual transit of people and groups (through notions like «vagabond», «tourist», «neo-flâneur», «human swarm» etc.), but also the cultural consequences of such transit, as much in terms of «liquefaction» of traditional concepts (“frontier”, “nation”, “foreigner”) as in terms of their resemanticization (“identity”, “community”, “society”); both in the sense of a fluid circulation of new concepts and in the transcultural re-definition of the world social organization, already innervated by hybridisations and syncretisms of different orders.

Similarly, the intermedial or transmedial turn have coincided with the appearance of paradigms of media and digital convergence, remediation, relocation and so on (Jenkins, Schröter, Bolter, Grusin, Casetti et al.), that, in their turn, have expressed a complex and dynamic media culture whose perpetual development is moulded by the articulations that in it include transit of images, symbols, stories, codes and formats in the constant crossing of both the mediascape (Aumont, Bellour, Didi-Huberman et al.) and the international landscape (visual anthropology, global studies, post-colonial studies etc.).

Even much time, by now, after the formulation of paradigms on the media ecosystem and the early studies on the Warburghian «migration of images» or on the transmedia storytelling, it is possible to observe, in the first place, how phenomena of flows and metamorphosis of the elements circulating in the media ecosystem contribute to the liquefaction and resemanticization of traditional notions, such as the concepts of device, medium, work, text, authoriality, spectatorship, production, consumption etc.

Secondly, today it is also possible to recognise how the flow and the metamorphosis of those elements circulating within the media ecosystem redefine necessarily forms, practices and concurrently contents, topics, and cultural issues in transit. This contributes — for instance through different phenomena of «disintermediation» and «reintermediation» — to the wider transformation of the global cultural ecosystem in an intercultural and transcultural direction, that subsists in syncretisms and hybridisations of contents and, of course simultaneously, in techniques and practices with significant anthropological, social, political etc. implications (Appadurai, Anderson et al.).

In this global landscape, where complex relations of reciprocity intersect, the primacy of transit or flows determines certainly a correlation between different human fields and spheres but, at the same time, also their intimate and genuine interrelation, namely an "inter-retro-action" of mutual influences.

With regard to such correlations and interrelations, some of the realities that are most remarkable in terms of implication for the culture of the twenty-first century and, thus, capable of representing just as many other possible fields of investigation of this dossier are:

  • Changes and recent ways of travelling and their interpretation in the transmedia storytelling between cinema (for instance: Safar-e Qandahar by M. Makhmalbaf, Um filme falado by De Oliveira, Lost in Translation by S. Coppola, The Terminal by Spielberg, Tickets by Kiarostami, Loach and Olmi, In to the wild by S. Penn, Cosmopolis by D. Cronenberg, Un giorno devi andare by G. Diritti, This Must Be The Place by P. Sorrentino) and TV and web series (for example: The Trip, High Sea-Alto Mar, etc.);

  • Ongoing changes in the relationship between photography and travelling in the «post-photographic era», as W.J.T. Mitchell called it, especially with an increasingly fluid intersection among the fields of art, reportage and tourism promotion (as in the emblematic case of The Salt of the Earth, by Wenders and J.R. Salgado or Trip: Geography of Poverty by Blanck or in the works of McCurry);

  • Migratory flows and their interpretation in the moving image culture between cinematographic fiction (i.e.: Teza by Gerima, Bread and Roses or It’s a Free World by Loach, Gran Torino by C. Eastwood, Babel or Biutiful by Iñárritu, Eden by Gavras, Il villaggio di cartone by E. Olmi, Terraferma by E. Crialese, The Other Side of Hope by A. Kaurismaki), serial fiction (Kebab for Breakfast, The Missing Step etc.), and documentary (L’Afrance by Gomis, Barcelone ou la mort by Guiro, Io sto con la sposa by Del Grande, Fuocoammare by Rosi, Spectres are Haunting Europe by N. Giannari and M. Kourkoute, Incoming by Mosse, Eldorado by Imhoof, The Human Flow by Weiwei);

  • The centrality of the migratory issue in the fluid passage of photography between reportage and art (Exodus by S. Salgado, Global Village by David Du Chemin, Libya: A Human Marketplace by Contreras, War Photographer about James Nachtwey, or the picture published by «the Independent» of the Syrian dead child on the beach and the tributes of Ai Weiwei and other artists);

  • Transit or flows caused by media experience: the numerous expressions and contemporary transformations of the movie tourism (S. Beeton);

  • Changes in the tourism area and their interpretations in the contexts of cinema (for instance: Vicky Cristina Barcelona or Midnight in Paris by Allen, Grand Budapest Hotel by Anderson) and of tv and web series (Locked Up Abroad, Dark Tourism).


Deadline for the abstract: March 25, 2019.

Deadline for the essay: July 5, 2019.

Texts in Italian, English or French will be submitted to a double-blind peer review process. They need to be written exclusively for the review and fit in the following size: Min. 35.000, max 40.000 characters (including spaces and footnotes).

Email addresses for sending proposals:,



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