23rd Annual Film Studies Association of Canada Graduate Colloquium
University of Toronto Cinema Studies Institute
Friday January 29 - Saturday January 30, 2021 (Virtual)
Call for papers: “SPECTRE”
Keynote address by Dr. David Marriott, Penn State University
The year 2020 has been shrouded by the spectre of crises, from the novel coronavirus, to ongoing racial injustice and colonial violence. The impact of this year has sent reverberations through the ways in which we gather, research, think, make and consume art, and indeed, how we survive. The spectral seems to be an apt mode for contemplating the conditions that hover over our times, and that continue to haunt the cinema and its study.
Film scholars have long tracked the ghostliness of the cinematic. For example, Katherine Groo asks us to consider the absence and decay of film and its celluloid im/materiality as a part of its ontology. In Zoological Surrealism, James Cahill attests to the power of film to reanimate the dead, while Canadian scholar Andrew Burke’s recent work looks at how contemporary Canadian film is haunted by traces of the 1970s. The onscreen body, too, persists as a phantasmagoric figure. For Maggie Hennefeld, the spectral encapsulates the transfiguring, miniaturising embodiment of early film comediennes, while Eliza Steinbock calls upon the “shimmer” to envision the illusory, astonishing visibility of both cinema and transgender embodiment. Cinema’s legacy of racial imagery also continues to haunt its image-making practices; in Black Skin, White Masks, Frantz Fanon famously wrote: “I can’t go to the movies without encountering myself. I wait for myself. Just before the film starts, I wait for myself,” a passage taken up by Kara Keeling in her article “In the Interval.” The spectre of film’s racial imaginary also cannot be separated from the continued presence of systemic anti-Black violence, a spectre that is all too real.
Finally, since Derrida conceptualized the neologism "hauntology" in his 1993 Specters of Marx, many scholars, like those aforementioned and beyond the discipline of media studies, have engaged with spectres. Indeed, this conference also asks, in what ways are we haunted by the spectre of spectre? How is the spectral contained and rendered by filmic practices, or by film’s ontology? How does the spectral inhabit onscreen bodies and map across visions of marginalisation, terror, and violence? What is the cinema continuously haunted by, and how does this haunting rear its head?
Sample topics may include but are not limited to:
- The paranormal and ghostliness
- Systemic violence/legacies of violence
- Im/materiality, un/reality, absence/presence
- Repetition and temporality
- Memory, trauma, loss, fear, anxiety
- Legacies of film history and historic film scholarship/methods
Interested graduate students must submit a brief abstract (300 to 500 words) as a .PDF
file, in English or French, by Monday, December 7th, 2020, to:
Submissions should include the following information:
- Your name
- Level of study
- Name of your University
- Title of your presentation
- Short bibliography
Please contact the University of Toronto's Cinema Studies Graduae Student Union for further details.