SCMS 2020 Panel CFP: Cosmic Imaginaries in Socialist Film and Media

Bianka Ballina's picture
Call for Papers
August 2, 2019
Colorado, United States
Subject Fields: 
Film and Film History


Cosmic Imaginaries in Socialist Film and Media


Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) Annual Conference: April 1–5, 2020. Denver, CO




This panel considers how cinema and other media forms have contributed to the construction of cosmic popular imaginaries across the socialist world. How has the cosmos been envisioned and mediated across different socialist societies? Can commonalities be found among the cosmological imaginaries of different socialist national cinemas? What particular meanings do space travel—whether documented or fictionalized—and contemplations of the universe beyond the earth take on in socialist film and media? We invite proposals related to representations of cosmology and astronomy in cinema emerging from socialist and post-socialist contexts. Papers may also address how visions of the sky, stars, and space travel displayed in socialist media differ from those arising within the United States? We would be particularly interested in papers that engage with the relationship between cosmology and memory. While science fiction is so often oriented toward the future, it often also engages with questions of human pasts and earthly preservation, and cosmological visions within fiction cinema often serve as conduits for memory and history. Documentary films addressing astronomy and space travel also frequently interweave reflections on cosmic temporalities with narratives of human histories. These connections between memory and cosmology are evident in recent critically acclaimed films such as Interstellar (Nolan, 2014), Melancholia (Von Trier, 2011), and Nostalgia for the Light (Guzman, 2011). In this panel, we want to look specifically at how these relationships play out in diverse socialist and post-socialist media environments. How do past explorations of space enter cinema and other kinds of media to constitute collective memories and narratives of socialist nationhood? How do depictions of the cosmos provide avenues for constructing history and memory, rather than just futuristic ambition, within socialist film and media? Current panelists examine case studies from Hungary and Cuba. 


Please send any inquiries and paper proposals to Hannah Goodwin ( and Bianka Ballina ( by August 2, 2019. Proposals should include a title (max. 120 characters), abstract (max. 2500 characters), 3-5 bibliographic sources, and a bio (max. 500 characters). Panelists will be informed of decisions by August 5, 2019. 


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