FSU Film and Literature Conference 2008

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Preliminary Call for Papers

33rd Annual Film and Literature Conference
Cyborg Science and Virtual Materialities in Literature and Film
January 31-February 3, 2008
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The central question of this conference is whether or not some kind of nuanced "translational" model that grapples with the gulfs or "incommmensurabilities" separating C. P. Snow's "three cultures" of science, the humanities, and technology is possible, in the light of contemporary critiques of science. Nevertheless, the way in which the word "culture" is negotiated in this conference is a broader one than Snow's locution, and may also be construed along national and regional borders, rather than "pure" disciplinary ones, and the task at hand is translating (across) cultures, to the extent possible. Invited speakers include: Lev Manovich, Stephen Prince, Patricia Melzer, Judith Kerman, and Scott Bukatman.

This conference is based principally on recent scholarship that attempts to forge a metaphor for the postmodern condition of multiple hybridities in the figure of the cyborg. As Donna Haraway puts it, the cyborg, a "condensed image of both material reality and imagination," signals the end of myths of purity and the "border wars" separating disciplines. Haraway's framework thus enables discussions that juxtapose the rhetoric and narrative forms used by film, literature, and the pictorial arts, as well as biology, medicine, and technology, which are informed by gender as well as postcolonial and transnational issues that get at the intertwined issues of objectivity and translationalism. There are other related points of entry into this conference theme. For example, the new paradigms that call for non-positivist, non-linear movements within science easily segue with cutting-edge critical work in feminism and postcolonialism, yielding new movements, such as "Afrofuturism." Afrofuturism is a nascent sub-cultural movement of novelists, filmmakers, critics, cultural theorists, experimental musicians, and scientists, who explore the new cultural spaces for the African diaspora that have been opened up by technology.

Other possible panel topics include: Anthropomorphizing the Other; Philosophies of Beauty in the Visual and Verbal Arts; The Posthuman; Metamorphosis as Translation; Alterity and Technology; The International Cyborg: The Human-Machine in Non-U.S. Cinema; Digital Special Effects and Virtual Materialities; CGI: Theory and Practice; Japanese Anime; Cyberpunk literature and film; the Body and the Machine; Science and/or Fiction in Literature and Film; ritual, magic and technology in Matthew Barney's art.

Refereeing of conference panel proposals and abstracts begins in Fall 2007. Please refer to the following website for developing details: http://www.carolinekaypicart.com/filmliteratureconf08/

Please submit your abstracts to:
and/or conference panel proposals to:
by October 1, 2007, midnight.

Conference Organizer:
Caroline "Kay" Picart (English)

Conference Coordinator:
Karen Bearor (Art History)

Conference Assistants:
Hilaree Caldwell
Lauren Rinker

Plenary Speakers:
Scott Bukatman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University where he helped to establish the Film and Media Studies Program. He has published three books: Terminal Identity: The Virtual Subject in Postmodern Science Fiction, one of the first in-depth studies of cyberculture; a monograph on Blade Runner; and Matters of Gravity: Special Effects and Supermen in the 20th Century, a collection of essays. He is presently working on a book-length study of Winsor McCay.

Judith Kerman edited the well-known scholarly anthology Retrofitting Blade Runner: Issues in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" and Philip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" (Popular Press). Her scholarly research has often touched on the ontology and moral significance of "the fantastic," including virtual reality in film; uses of masks, puppets and clowning in folk tradition, religion and film; anthropology in science fiction; apocalyptic metafiction; computer art; technology as an aspect of culture. Kerman is the author of eight books and chapbooks of poetry, as well as translations of Cuban and Dominican women writers. She is publisher, editor and designer of Mayapple Press. In 2002 Kerman was a Fulbright Senior Scholar to the Dominican Republic. She is Professor of English at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan.

Lev Manovich www.manovich.net is the author of Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database (The MIT Press, 2005), and The Language of New Media (The MIT Press, 2001) which is hailed as "the most suggestive and broad ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan." Manovich is a Professor of Visual Arts, University of California, San Diego and a Director of The Lab for Cultural Analysis at California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology.

Patricia Melzer is director of the Women's Studies Program at Temple University, where she teaches a variety of courses on gender and cultural studies, such as technology in literature and film. She earned her Ph.D. in Women's Studies from Clark University, MA. A native German, she received her Masters in North American Studies at the Free University in Berlin. Her published work includes the monograph Alien Constructions: Science Fiction and Feminist Thought (2006), and the edited special issue on Gender and Technology in Sciene Fiction Film of FEMSPEC (5:1 2004). She is currently working on a co-edited essay collection, 'I've been a woman I-don't know-how-many-times': A Critical Tribute to the Work of Octavia E. Butler.

Stephen Prince is a Professor of Communication at Virginia Tech, teaching film history, theory, and criticism for the past 18 years. He has done much research on violence in film, Japanese cinema and Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, American film, and political cinema. His various essays and book excerpts have appeared in a variety of publications, including Film Quarterly, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Cinema Journal, and the Quarterly Review of Film and Radio. He is the Past President of The Society for Cinema and Media Studies, the largest organization of film enthusiasts encompassing professionals, academics, and students. He has published nine books including: The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa (1999), Classical Film Violence (2003), and, most recently, Screen Decades: the 1980s (2007). He is currently writing a book on American film in the age of terrorism.

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