Apr 29, 2013

Wanted: graduate student presentations for Indiana University's Orphan Film event

Bloomington, IN --

The announcement below is from Martin L. Johnson [the film scholar, not Osa Johnson's filmmaking husband], who is organizing a one-day conference leading into the Orphans Midwest symposium at Indiana University Bloomington.  Dr. Johnson [thought not that Dr. Johnson] received his PhD from NYU Cinema Studies in 2011, has been teaching at UNC Chapel Hill, and has accepted a faculty position at Catholic University in Washington for fall 2013. 

Martin Johnson and Caitlin McGrath (U of Maryland) co-chair the Nontheatrical Film and Media Scholarly Interest Group within the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Dave Sagehorn (doctoral candidate at Northwestern U), as the group's grad. student rep., is helping to plan the conference described below.  This Thursday session is also designed to allow graduate students to attend the Orphans Midwest extravaganza that follows it. 

The September 26th daytime event will be followed immediately that evening by the opening of the Orphan Film Symposium entitled "Materiality and the Moving Image," which will continue all day and night Friday and Saturday, September 27 and 28, 2013.  All at the IU Cinema. Registration is open.  www.cinema.indiana.edu/about/orphans-midwest/ 

Call for Papers -- from graduate students 
contact martin.johnson@nyu.edu

Orphans, Disciplines, and the Institutions of Cinema: 
Placing Orphan Films
Indiana University Bloomington
Thursday, September 26, 2013

When the first Orphan Film Symposium was held in 1999, the agenda was clear from its title: “Saving ‘Orphan Films’ in the Digital Age.” Fourteen years, and eight symposia, later, orphan films no longer need scare quotes to be identified, and many previously obscure and unknown films are now at the center of archival and historical investigations of the cinema. Moreover, recent edited collections such as Charles Acland and Haidee Wasson’s Useful Cinema (Duke, 2011), and Devin Orgeron, Marsha Orgeron, and Dan Streible’s Learning with the Lights Off: Educational Film in the United States (Oxford, 2012), demonstrate the history of these films before they were orphaned; they were produced, distributed, and exhibited as part of a larger nontheatrical network and as active participants in alternative cinema cultures.

In this one-day, graduate student conference is presented by the Nontheatrical Film and Media Scholarly Interest Group of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, in conjunction with Orphans Midwest (Sept 26-28), Indiana University Cinema, Film and Media Studies at Indiana University, the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University. 

We ask for papers that consider the analytical, historiographic, and disciplinary consequences of "placing" orphan films in particular theoretical and historical categories. For example, does the identification of orphan works as educational, medical, industrial, scientific, or other genres of films remind us of the specific circumstances of their reception, or does it needlessly encourage a tendency to ahistorically categorize films? Are auteurist histories of individual directors overly dependent on art cinema modes of analysis, or do they give us a way to think of these works are more than mere expressions of institutional ideologies? Should we use the traditional tools of film studies, such as close reading, to analyze orphan films? Or is it preferable to create new methodologies that allow us to consider the tens of thousands of films that make up the orphan archives? How can researchers of orphan films benefit from dialogue with those in science studies, media ethnography, digital humanities, media archeology, and other emerging fields of study to produce interdisciplinary historical and theoretical work on orphan films?

Please submit 300-word proposals, and a brief bio, by May 10, 2013 to Martin.Johnson[@]nyu.edu. If you wish to propose a pre-constituted panel, workshop, or alternative presentation mode, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your plans.