Wednesday, November 30, 2011

December Talk: Michael Dwyer on American Graffiti

It has taken a while for the seminar to get started this semester, but I am pleased to announce an end-of-semester talk for next Thursday.

Michael D. Dwyer (Arcadia University)
Re-Reading American Graffiti

Respondent: Chris Cagle (Temple University)

Thursday, December 8

Temple University Center City (directions)
Room 420 (bring ID and check in with front desk)

In the 1980s, nostalgia for the fifties became an enormously lucrative and politically resonant trope in American popular culture. The text most often identified as the founding document of this "nostalgia wave" in America is American Graffiti (1973). The film was received warmly by critics and audiences, establishing its young director George Lucas in Hollywood. In retrospect, however, critics and theorists have largely condemned American Graffiti. Popular critics have aligned the film with the emergence of Reaganism, while theorists have isolated the film as a symptom of the postmodernist commodification of history.

Discourses that surrounded the film's release, however, reveal that the political function of fifties nostalgia was radically different in 1973 than it was in ensuing decades. In fact, as I'll show, the repeated re-releases of the film in various theatrical and video formats continually reposition it within new cultural contexts and reconfigure its ideological function. Taking note of the historical emergence of nostalgia and recent work by Richard Dyer on the self-reflexive nature of pastiche, I'll argue that re-reading American Graffiti affords us the opportunity to acknowledge the diverse aesthetic, political, and cultural uses of nostalgia.

Michael D. Dwyer is an Assistant Professor of Media and Communication at Arcadia University, teaching courses in film, media studies, and cultural studies. His manuscript, Back to the Fifties, centers on the function of nostalgia in popular media, evolving practices of allusion, citation and quotation, and their relationships with history and cultural memory in the Reagan Era.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Penn Colloquium: Mia Mask

Mia Mask (Vassar),
"The Precarious Politics of 'Precious'"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Penn Cinema Studies Colloquium
209A Fisher-Bennett Hall
3340 Walnut Street
University of Pennsylvania

There has been considerable controversy over Lee Daniels' film Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire since its release in 2009. Various news outlets such as The New York Times, ABC and The Huffington Post have published discussion of the film's polarizing effect. For example, on November 21, 2009 Times writer Felicia R. Lee posed the question that seemed to be on many people's minds: Is the film a reinforcement of noxious stereotypes or a realistic and therapeutic portrayal of a black family in America? In its unrelenting close examination of the eponymous character's tragically abusive childhood, Precious is simultaneously a grueling social problem picture for the twenty-first century and an amalgamation of familiar images that resonate with racial stereotypes. The film -- and its controversial reception -- has even been linked to other contested movies like The Color Purple (1985). Prominent intellectuals and journalists such as author Jill Nelson and literary scholar Ishmael Reed have addressed what Nelson described as "self-hatred" and Reed termed "The racism at the heart of Precious." In my essay, entitled "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Precious Discourse on Black Cinema," or "The Precarious Politics of Precious," I examine the critical controversy ignited by the film and offer my own close reading of the text. By closely reading the performances, the film's aesthetic, and the social context, I argue that Precious is complex and contradictory rather than simply offensive.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Penn Colloquium: Luis Moreno-Caballud

Luis Moreno-Caballud
"Editing Neighborhoods: the Politics of Urban Transformation in Recent Iberian Documentary Films"

Cinema Studies Colloquium

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 12:00pm
330 Fisher-Bennett Hall
University of Pennsylvania

In the context of the latest developments of the Spanish May 15th movement, the social space of the neighborhood has suddenly regained importance. When “tent cities” in the main squares became unsustainable, the collective intelligence of the “indignados” crystallized in a clear message: let’s move to the neighborhoods. This movement echoes a long Spanish tradition of imagining the urban neighborhood as a space for political resistance, a tradition in which documentary film has had an important role. During the last decade, many documentary filmmakers have returned to the neighborhood to tell stories of urban transformation, in each case with a different vision of the political dimension of these changes. In this presentation, I will compare two divergent accounts of the “gentrification” of the so-called “Chinese neighborhood” in Barcelona. I will show how En construcción (José Luis Guerín, 2001) suggests that urban transformation can disclose accumulated layers of human experience, while De Nens (Joaquim Jordà, 2003) presents urban change as a surface phenomenon that cloaks an intricate web of manipulations and interests. These two cinematic approaches, which will be compared with those of other documentary films, establish radically different narratives for the political imaginary of the Spanish neighborhood. Parsing out these narratives is particularly important at a moment in which the space of the urban neighborhood has been revitalized by the May 15th movement.

Hal Foster at Tyler School of Art

Not strictly film or media studies, but this might be of interest....

Hal Foster
Toward a Grammar of Emergency

Wednesday, October 5
6:00 PM

2001 N. 13TH STREET
(Temple Main Campus)

In his talk titled "Toward a Grammar of Emergency," Hal Foster will discuss four key concepts in the work of Thomas Hirschhorn: the precarious, the creaturely, expenditure, and emergency.

“Crystal of Resistance” by Thomas Hirschhorn at Swiss Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2011.

Hal Foster is Townsend Martin '17 Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. He teaches lecture and seminar courses in modernist and contemporary art and theory; he also directs the graduate proseminar in methodology. Foster is an associate member of the School of Architecture and the Department of German; he also works with the programs of Media and Modernity and European Cultural Studies. Recent books include Art Since 1900 (2005), a co-authored textbook on 20th-century art; Prosthetic Gods (2004), concerning the relation between modernism and psychoanalysis; and Design and Crime (2002), on problems in contemporary art, architecture, and design. His book, Figment: Painting and Subjectivity in the First Pop Age, is due out in 2011, to be followed by Image Building: Essays on the Art-Architecture Rapport. He is presently at work on a theory of modernism as a way (in the words of Walter Benjamin) “to outlive culture, if need be.” A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Foster continues to write regularly for October (which he co-edits), Artforum, and The London Review of Books.

The Critical Dialogue Series, a core component of the MFA program at the Tyler School of Art, is co-sponsored by the Philosophy Department, the Architecture Department, the Department of Journalism, the Film and Media Arts Department, and the Department of Art History.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Raymond Bellour and Christa Blümlinger

This Thursday, September 29, 2011, from 6:30-8:00 pm, at the Slought Foundation:

"Film as object of study and as archive"
Raymond Bellour, Christa Blümlinger

Raymond Bellour will speak for 30 minutes on "Forty years of stopping moving images, "followed by Blümlinger on "Archival Gestures," with a moderated conversation to follow.

This program has been organized by Nora Alter, Professor of Film and Media Arts at Temple University, with generous support of the Department of Film and Media Arts at Temple University; the Program in Film Studies at Bryn Mawr College; French Studies in the Department of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania; and the Society of Friends of the Slought Foundation.

Fuller biographies and descriptions available at the Slought website.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

P Adams Sitney talk at Tyler

As part of the ongoing Critical Dialogues Series at Tyler School of Art (Temple main campus), P. Adams Sitney will be appearing in person for a lecture and critical conversation. The lecture will take place Wednesday evening, September 14, in the Tyler School of Art auditorium (13th and Norris St), room B004, and will begin promptly at 6:00PM .

Talk title:
"Cinema as Rhythm"

P. Adams Sitney is a preeminent film theorist and historian of European and American avant-garde film. Known for his early intellectual and critical support of the New American Cinema movement, he wrote Visionary Film (Oxford University Press, 1974), widely regarded as the first major history of postwar American avant-garde filmmaking. The author of Eyes Upside Down: Visionary Filmmakers and the Heritage of Emerson (Oxford University Press, 2009), Vital Crises in Italian Cinema: Iconography, Stylistics, Politics (University of Texas Press, 1995), and Modernist Montage: The Obscurity of Vision in Cinema and Literature (Columbia University Press, 1992), he has also edited several essay collections on filmography. Sitney was an important figure in the early years of New York University’s doctoral program in Cinema Studies, which was established in 1970. He was a founder of New York’s Anthology Film Archives and has served as a member of its Essential Cinema film selection committee.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

D. Graham Burnett and Lisa Young

The Philadelphia Cinema and Media Seminar and the Philadelphia Area Center for the History of Science present:


A conversation and screening with D. Graham Burnett (Princeton University) and Lisa Young (Rhode Island School of Design)
With commentary by John Tresch (University of Pennsylvania)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Time: Discussion 4-5:30pm, followed by social hour and light dinner
Location: The Library Company
RSVP with the Philadelphia Area Center for the History of Science

In 2010 D. Graham Burnett and the artist Lisa Young collaborated on a video project that engages the problem of the aerial view in the second half of the twentieth century. Burnett and Young will screen the latest version of their efforts and talk about history, fiction, and work at the boundary of the history of science and the visual arts.

D. Graham Burnett is a historian of science in the Department of History at Princeton University,and an editor at Cabinet magazine, based in Brooklyn. The recipient of a 2009 Mellon New Directions Fellowship, he is currently working on connections between the sciences and the visual arts. (Bio)

Lisa Young is a member of the faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work explores the relationship between the temporal and the sublime through photography, installation, books, video, and web projects. (Bio)

John Tresch is an Associate Professor in the Department of the History of Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the cultural history of science and technology in Europe (especially France) and the USA from 1750 to the present. (Bio)

Malcolm Turvey next week

The PCMS has two events planned for end of the semester.

Malcolm Turvey
(Sarah Lawrence College)
"Medium-Specificity Defended"

respondent: Timothy Corrigan (Univ. of Pennsylvania)

Tuesday, May 3
5:00 pm
Temple Univ. Center City, room 420


Medium-specificity, which informed much theorizing about the arts in the twentieth century, has not fared well among theorists recently. Those influenced by the opposition to essentialism in much post-structuralist thought have tended to reject medium-specific arguments as essentialist. However, even theorists who have no such opposition to essentialism have found it wanting. For example, contemporary philosopher Noel Carroll has proposed an essential definition of cinema or what he calls the moving image, in other words a definition in terms of a set of necessary and sufficient conditions, while eschewing medium-specificity and launching an all out assault on the doctrine. This paper defends a version of medium-specificity from the criticisms of Carroll and others by returning to some of the medium-specific arguments of classical film theorists such as Jean Epstein and Dziga Vertov. In the process, it untangles medium-specificity from other doctrines with which it is often confused, such as medium-essentialism, and it ends by explaining why a defensible version of medium-specificity remains relevant today.

Malcolm Turvey is a professor of film studies at Sarah Lawrence College and an editor of October. He is the author of Doubting Vision: Film and the Revelationist Tradition (Oxford University Press, 2008) and The Filming of Modern Life: European Avant-Garde Film of the 1920s (MIT Press, 2011).

Monday, April 11, 2011

Penn symposium on Comics

Graphic Exchanges: Comics Without Borders
Presented by the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania, in conjunction with the College of Arts and Sciences and Brave New Worlds Comics

Friday, April 15th, 2011
Registration required

2:30 – 5:00
Van Pelt Library, Meyerson Conference Room (Rm. 223)

“Olivier Schrauwen: Carrying on the Legacy of Winsor McCay” ~ Nele Bemong,
K.U. Leuven; Breughel Chair Visiting Professor at University of Pennsylvania

“Sharing a Common Language: Woodcut Novels and Wordless Comics in Belgium and
the United States”~ David Berona, Plymouth State University

“’Too Many Pictures:’ The Rise of the German Graphic Novel” ~ Paul M. Malone,
University of Waterloo

5:00 – 6:00
Exhibition of UPenn’s Rare Comics Material
Van Pelt, Special Collections Reading Room (Rm. 501)

7:00 – 9:30
Author Presentations
David Rittenhouse Lab, Room A8

by Charles Burns and Marc Legendre, two prominent graphic novelists.

Penn Colloquium: Carina Yervasi

Carina Yervasi (Swarthmore College),
Spotlight on the Continent: African Cinema at the 22nd FESPACO Film Festival

Cinema Studies Colloquium
University of Pennsylvania
330 Fisher-Bennett Hall

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Africa that is represented at Fespaco “is torn between what it is and what it strives to be,” writes film critic Aboubacar Cissé in Africine, a film journal published by the African Federation of Film Critics. For Congolese historian and writer Elikia M’Bokolo such a cinematographic and historical interstice heralds optimism: that cinema is a “powerful memory media…[that has] always known how to testify to the progress of Africa.” Whereas for others, including the Delegate General of the 2011 Fespaco, Michel Ouedraogo this constant tearing apart means that “independent Africa has not yet decolonized its screens.” How can continent-wide film production respond to such antipodes of thought? How do both tendencies bear out over the course of the week-long festival? This paper will look at the ways in which Cissé’s observation is engaged in the articles by African writers and critics as they respond to African filmmaking and, more importantly, to the crucial place that Fespaco holds in the production and promotion of African film.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Javed Akhtar: "Bollywood and the Global India"

The New India Forum of the Center for Humanities at Temple is hosting two events this week:

"Bollywood and the Global India"

Javed Akhtar in conversation with Priya Joshi

Thursday, April 14, 2011
Alter Hall Auditorium, A31
Temple University
1801 Liacouras Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Javed Akhtar has been a defining voice in Bollywood cinema and its global diffusion for decades. Screenwriter, poet, and Member of Parliament, Akhtar co-wrote the screenplays for Bollywood's biggest blockbusters in the 1970s, including Sholay, Deewar, and Trishul. His lyrics articulate responsibility and conscience, politics and grief, and capture the zeitgeist of India in transition. A staunch believer in secular ideals, Akhtar has been an outspoken voice in the streets and in Parliament on matters of social justice and religious harmony. He has been honored by every major film award in India numerous times (including 14 Filmfare awards) and both the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan, given for exemplary citizenship by the Government of India.

The 1970s and its Legacies:
A Workshop on India's Cinemas

Friday, April 15, 2011
Weigley Room, 914 Gladfelter Hall
Temple University
1115 Polett Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19122

Organized by
Priya Joshi, Temple University
Rajinder Dudrah, University of Manchester


Keynote: Javed Akhtar

9:00: Breakfast

9:30: Introduction and Opening Remarks

10.00: The Family
Ulka Anjaria, Brandeis University
Structures of Fictive Kinship in 1970s Hindi Cinema

Priya Joshi, Temple University
Cinema as Public Fantasy

Discussant: Suvir Kaul, University of Pennsylvania

11:00: The Figures
Ajay Gehlawat, Sonona State
The Construction of 1970s Femininity

Satish Poduval, The EFL University, Hyderabad
Gender, Conjugality and the Remaking of Class in 1970s Hindi Cinema

Discussant: Kavita Daiya, George Washington University

12:00: Lunch

1:30: The Industry
Corey Creekmur, University of Iowa
Popular Hindi Cinema, Periodization, and Manoj Kumar

2:00: The South
S.E. Pillai, Michigan State University
1970s Tamil Cinema and the Post-classical Turn

Ratheesh Radhakrishnan, Rice University
A Retake on Malayalam Cinema of the 1970s

Discussant: Amanda Weidman, Bryn Mawr College

3:00: Tea

3:30: Closing Remarks
Sudipta Kaviraj, Columbia University
The 1970s in Perspective
4:00: Concluding Roundtable
Moderator: Rajinder Dudrah, University of Manchester

Because seating is limited, RSVPs are recommended.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cinefest 2011

The other major Philly film festival, Cinefest starts tonight. The schedule is a bit heavier on indie genre film and quirkumentary, a little lighter on the festival hits that the Philadelphia Film Festival is specializing in. Highlights (for me) include François Ozon's Potiche and the documentary Project Nim.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Penn Colloquium: Ivone Margulies

CINE Colloquium, Ivone Margulies
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - 12:00pm
330 Fisher-Bennett Hall
University of Pennsylvania

Ivone Margulies (Hunter College)

The Real/Actor: Reenactment and Transmission in Contemporary Cinema

Claude Lanzmann’s statement that “no true knowledge exists prior to transmission,” firmly couples the addressee to a scene in which speech acts. The performative efficacy of an in-person address has depended on the return, through cinema’s agency, of people to places in which they underwent traumatic events. This qualified “return,” brings into scene the real/actor, evidence that is most disturbing, and my object here. This paper complicates Lanzmann’s testimonial credo in Shoah looking at two examples of self-reenactment—atrocities dispassionately replayed by Khmer rouge guards in Rithy Panh’s S21 the Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (2003) and the return of Carapiru, an awa-guaja Indian to reenact his first contact with whites 20 and 30s years earlier when his tribe was massacred in Andrea Tonacci’s Sierras of Chaos (2007). I argue that by staging unconscious and problematic agencies relayed in faulty memories, inarticulate voices and unclear ethical stances these films deploy the real/actor to invalidate a necessary link between re-enactment, self-knowledge and exemplarity. Through a close reading of Sierras of Chaos I discuss how Carapiru, a presence pervaded with temporal ambiguity and categorical instability, is used as a catalyst to implicate more broadly cinema and the media in the National exclusion of indigenous groups in Brazil.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Linda Williams at Bryn Mawr

Linda Williams
Professor of Film Studies and Rhetoric, UC Berkeley

“Megamelodrama: Vertical and Horizontal Suspensions of the 'Classical'”

Monday March 21, 2011
4:30 p.m. (Reception to follow)
Carpenter 21
Bryn Mawr College

Since the late eighties, American audiences have been witnessing a quite literal expansion of the very dimensions of movie and television melodrama. The movie screen has expanded spatially. Where it once grew wider in competition with television, it now grows deeper--as 3D becomes more popular but also through a new dynamization of the vertical. In contrast, the television has expanded "horizontally" in time as serial melodramas go on and on. Both of these expansions suggest that we need to rethink the very nature of the melodramatic space and time of the moving image in contrast to assumed norms of the "classical."

Sponsored by Class of 1902 Lecture Fund, Department of English, Program in Film Studies, Program in Gender & Sexuality Studies, and Center for Social Sciences

Penn Colloquium: Xiaojue Wang

Xiaojue Wang (Univ. of Pennsylvania)
"Building Leisure and Everyday Life in Socialist Shanghai"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
330 Fisher-Bennett Hall
University of Pennsylvania

My talk considers socialist urban imaginations and reconstructions of Shanghai as represented in a small group of low-budget films in the late 1950s focusing on the everyday life of early socialist China among the vast bulk of war films and Cold War conspiracy films. It examines how ideological hegemony of the fledgling socialist state is projected onto the reconfiguration of urban space and urban landscape, and how the construction of socialist new person, and the conceptualization of work and leisure, and the production of new socialist spaces are tightly intricated in the cinema of the Seventeen Years Period.

Monday, March 14, 2011

March 2011: Fabienne Darling-Wolf

This Friday is the next talk in the PCMS series.

"When Candy met Asterix: Japanese animation’s voyage to France and the shaping of global culture"

Fabienne Darling-Wolf
(Temple University)

Respondent: William Gardner (Swarthmore College)

Temple University Center City campus (TUCC)
Room 420
(bring ID to show front desk)
Friday, March 18, 5:30 pm

Based on a translocal comparative analysis informed by qualitative interviews with Japanese and French media consumers, this paper considers what the long history of Japanese animation and manga’s presence in France can tell us about the nature of contemporary globalized cultural forms and their local negotiation, particularly when considering the wide variety of cultural environments these texts—often originally based on European or American literary works—propose to represent (including France’s “native” culture). Pointing to significant differences in the nature of the genres’ influence in the French and American contexts, it concludes with a discussion of the dangers of assuming that the United States can be taken as representative of an essentialized “West,” often opposed, in turn, to an equally essentialized and exoticized “non-Western Other.”

Dr. Fabienne Darling-Wolf is Associate Professor of Journalism in the School of the Journalism and Theater at Temple University in Philadelphia. She also teaches and supervises graduate students in the school’s Mass Media and Communication Doctoral Program.

Dr. Darling-Wolf’s research focuses on processes of mediated cultural influence and negotiation in a global context, paying particular attention to how such processes intersect with gendered, racial and ethnic identity formation. Her work has been published in Communication Theory, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Journalism and Communication Monographs, New Media and Society, Popular Music and Society, Feminist Media Studies, Popular Communication, Journalism, Journalism Studies, Communication Review, Asian Journal of Women’s Studies, Visual Communication Quarterly and Journal of Communication Inquiry.

William Gardner is an associate professor of Japanese at Swarthmore College. He is author of Advertising Tower: Japanese Modernism and Modernity in the 1920s (Harvard University Asia Center, 2006) and “Literature as Life-form: Media and Modernism in the Literary Theory of Okuma Nobuyuki,” Monumenta Nipponica (2008). His current research is on science fiction and on media and virtuality in contemporary fiction.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

James Chandler on Sentimentality (Rutgers)

The Rutgers British Studies Center presents

James Chandler
"Sight Lines and Sentiment: Schiller, Shaftesbury, Sterne, Cinema"

Thursday, March 3, 2011
4:30 pm

Teleconference Lecture Hall
Alexander Library
169 College Avenue
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Griffith and Capra—filmmakers strongly associated, respectively, with two important moments in the classical system of narration in Hollywood (1910s silent film and 1930s talkies)—have long been casually called “sentimental.” But when Eisenstein famously argued that one couldn’t understand the cinema of Griffith and his disciples without coming to terms with Dickens,
he programmatically refused to concern himself with the sentimentalism of the connection, arguing instead for a particular genealogy of montage that he saw leading to his own practice and that of other Soviet filmmakers. Professor Chandler’s aim is to take seriously the complex legacy of the sentimental to classical Hollywood cinema, by going back not just to what is sentimental Dickens but to the eighteenth-century emergence of the category: especially to how the sentimental constructs spectators, articulates space, redeems the concept of the soul from materialist challenges, and negotiates canons of probability.

Prof. Chandler will be introduced by Michael McKeon of the Department of English. A reception will follow the lecture.

James Chandler is the Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of English at the University of Chicago, where he is the Director of the Franke Institute for the Humanities and Co-Director of the Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture. Prof. Chandler is the author of Wordsworth’s Second Nature: A Study of the Poetry and Politics (1984), England in 1819: The Politics of Literary Culture and the Case of Romantic Historicism (1998), and the forthcoming The Sentimental Mood: From Sterne to Capra. Prof. Chandler also has edited or co-edited Questions of Evidence: Proof, Practice, and Persuasion Across the Disciplines (1994), Romantic Metropolis: The Urban Scene in British Romanticism, 1780-1840 (2005), The Cambridge Companion to Romantic Poetry (2008), and The New Cambridge History of English Romantic Literature (2008).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Penn talks this week

Tomorrow, Wed., Feb. 23, Tanji Gilliam, a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, will be giving a colloquium talk titled, "or colored girls who also saw PRECIOUS and the rainbow is always outside":
Left, after the historic stereotyping of black women's bodies as sexually available, and the disciplined silences around rape and other forms of domestic violence, is the project of sharing black women's intimate experiences with violence when they have, however uncharacteristically, permitted this. This must be done in a way that makes use of silence, an agency that black women have historically enacted. This talk is excerpted from a larger manuscript, do you have any scars?/The Architecture of Violence. It looks at the cartographic record of domestic violence in Brooklyn’s Marcy Houses and maps popular representations of vernacular architecture in film and video in relationship to that media.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 12:00pm
330 Fisher-Bennett Hall

Friday, Dan Cohen from George Mason University will be giving a lecture on "The Ivory Tower and the Open Web":
Dan Cohen will share insights from his new book The Ivory Tower and the Open Web. The Web is now over twenty years old, and there is no doubt that the academy has taken advantage of its tremendous potential for disseminating resources and scholarship. But a full accounting of the academic approach to the Web shows that compared to the innovative vernacular forms that have flourished over the past two decades, we have been relatively meek in our use of the medium, often preferring to impose traditional ivory tower genres on the Web rather than import the open web's most successful models. For instance, we would rather digitize the journal we know than explore how blogs and social media might supplement or change our scholarly research and communication. In this talk, Dan explores what might happen if we reversed that flow and more wholeheartedly embraced the genres of the open Web.
Friday, February 25, 2011 - 10:30am
Class of '55 Conference Room, Van Pelt Dietrich Library Center

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jonathan Katz on David Wojnarowicz

Tyler School of Art's Department of Art History presents

Dr. Jonathan Katz
Co- Curator, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture”
& Chair, Visual Studies Doctoral Program, SUNY, Buffalo

“Eleven Seconds out of 113 Years: An(ant)tomy of a Conflict”

In this talk, to be followed by a question-and-answer session, Katz, co-curator of “Hide/Seek” and Queer studies scholar, will address the stakes of our repeated cultural skirmishes over the depiction of same sex desire and why he now understands this latest flare up as an unprecedented, and definitive, victory. Temple University has a particular involvement in this issue: exactly twenty years ago at the height of the “culture wars,” Temple Gallery presented the exhibition: “David Wojnarowicz: Tongues of Flame” and in conjunction, held a symposium “AIDS: Issues in Representation.” Wojnarowicz, who in art and writing boldly addressed issues of same sex desire and the response to the AIDS crisis, was embroiled in several controversies. These include his essay, “Post Cards from America: X-Rays from Hell,” for the exhibition, “Witnesses: Against our Vanishing”; his suit against the misleading use of cropped elements of his art by a conservative group trying to whip up support to de-fund the NEA; and the recent removal of the display of an excerpt from his film, “A Fire in My Belly,” from the National Portrait Gallery “Hide/Seek” show.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
4 pm
Tyler Building, B004 (South Basement)
Temple University
Norris St. , between 12th and 13th Streets

On Feb. 14 and 15, from 10am to 5pm, Temple Gallery will screen, "A Fire in My Belly."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Jess Dobkin at Bryn Mawr

Toronto-based performance artist Jess Dobkin will be speaking at Bryn Mawr College (Carpenter Hall 21) next Tuesday, February 15, at 7pm.

In this talk, Jess Dobkin speaks on intervening in social spaces and creating intimate encounters with audiences.

Touring internationally, Jess Dobkin has performed, lectured, and conducted performance art workshops in US, Canada, Germany, Belgium, and the UK. Her performance have been presented at renowned avant-garde venues in New York and Toronto.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stan Douglas in Conversation

(cross-posted with the Philly Repertory Film Blog)

Stan Douglas in conversation with Diedrich Diederichsen and Nora Alter

Monday, February 14, 2011
6:30 pm
Slought Foundation (4017 Walnut)
Free; reservation not required

Slought Foundation and the Temple University Department of Film and Media Arts are pleased to present artist Stan Douglas in conversation with Diedrich Diederichsen and Nora Alter on Monday, February 14, 2011 from 6:30-8:30pm at Slought Foundation. This program has been organized by Nora Alter, Chair of Film and Media Arts at Temple University. The conversation will engage Douglas’ Vidéo (2007), an audio-visual meditation on Samuel Beckett’s Film (1965), as well as the artist’s more recent public art project Abbott and Cordova (2009), a photo reenactment of the Gastown riot of 1971. The event will begin with a special screening of Vidéo (35 min; 2007).
"I'm always looking for this nexus point, the middle ground of some kind of transformation. I guess this accounts for the embarrassingly consistent binary constructions in my work. Almost all of the works, especially the ones that look at specific historical events, address moments when history could have gone one way or another. We live in the residue of such moments and for better or worse their potential is not yet spent."
-- Stan Douglas in conversation with Diana Thater (London: Phaidon Press, 1998).
Stan Douglas was born in 1960 and attended the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver. His film and video installations, photography, and work in television address the history of literature, cinema and music, the technical and social aspects of mass media, and modernism in terms of its failures as a theoretical utopian concept and its manifestation in present day urbanism. His work frequently engages in subtle societal criticisms and investigations of authorship and subjectivity, and has often been imbued with tropes associated with Blues and Jazz. They are media machines, Automats of a sort, which involve the viewer in their mechanics; they reflect an era of transition from literally mechanical reproduction to electronic saturation. Douglas's widely appreciated work has appeared in the 1995 Whitney Biennial and three Venice Biennales; at Documenta 9, 10 and 11; at the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao; and at the Museums of Modern Art in San Francisco and New York. He has had solo exhibitions at the Dia Foundation for the Arts in New York, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, among others. His work has also been shown in New York at The Studio Museum, Harlem, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Dia Center for the Arts.

Diedrich Diederichsen was editor of two music magazines in the 1980s (Sounds, Hamburg; Spex, Cologne) and taught at several academies in the 1990s in Germany, Austria, and the U.S. in the fields of art history, musicology, theater studies, and cultural studies. He was Professor for Cultural Theory at Merz Academy, Stuttgart from 1998 to 2006, and is currently Professor of Theory, Practice, and Communication of Contemporary Art at the Academy of Fine Art in Vienna. Recent Publications include Psicodela y ready-made, Buenos Aires 2010; Utopia of Sound, Vienna 2010 (co-edited with Constanze Ruhm); Rock, Paper, Scissor—Pop-Music/Fine Arts, Graz 2009 (co-edited with Peter Pakesch); On Surplus Value (of Art), Rotterdam/New York 2008; Eigenblutdoping, Cologne 2008; Kritik des Auges, Hamburg 2008; Argument Son, Dijon 2007; Personas en loop, Buenos Aires 2006; Musikzimmer, Cologne 2005.

Nora Alter talk at Swarthmore

The Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility Presents a Lecture by

Nora Alter
Chair and Professor of Film and Media Arts
Temple University

The Cat Has Nine Lives: Chris Marker and the Essay Film

Wednesday, February 9, 7pm
Scheuer Room, Swarthmore College

Elusive French filmmaker (and cat lover) Chris Marker has produced a remarkable body of politically engaged film and media over the past four decades. Nora Alter, author of a monograph on Marker, will speak informally about his work and the essay film in conjunction with the Documentary Practicum taught by Louis Massiah, this year's Lang Professor for Issues of Social Change.

Nora M. Alter is Chair and Professor of Film and Media Arts at Temple University. Her teaching and research have been focused on twentieth and twenty first century cultural and visual studies from a comparative perspective. She is author of Vietnam Protest Theatre: The Television War on Stage (1996), Projecting History: Non-Fiction German Film (2002), Chris Marker (2006) and co-editor with Lutz Koepnick of Sound Matters: Essays on the Acoustics of Modern German Culture (2004). She has published over fifty essays on German and European Studies, Film and Media Studies, Cultural and Visual Studies and Contemporary Art. She is completing a new book on the international essay film and has begun research on a new study devoted to sound.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Penn Colloquia: Caitlin McGrath and Tim Murray

University of Pennsylvania's Cinema Studies continues its colloquium series with two talks this week:

Caitlin McGrath
"'Seasickness is Decidedly Pleasant': Display and Movement in Late-Silent-Era Film Aesthetics"

What connects the rollercoaster in Hindle Wakes, the display window in Asphalt, and the trolley in Sunrise? They all use mobile camera work and experimental editing techniques to recreate the perceptual experience of modern life for the viewer. This paper will consider the role of these three sites in the modern urban environment—the department store, the city street, and the amusement park – in cinematic visualizations of modernization and industrialization. Examining this mix of pleasure and discomfort through the lens of the history of perceptual psychology becomes a means of exploring the affective dimension of the history of film style from early cinema through to Classical Hollywood.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011
330 Fisher-Bennett Hall
University of Pennsylvania

Timothy Murray (Cornell Univ.)
"Performing the Future, or Longing in the Age of New Media"

The talk will consider "longing" within the context of a psycho-philosophical approach to new media studies. The place of longing will be discussed not so much in a material context (the vanishing of materials) but more in a spectral sense: from consideration of models of mourning and melancholia in relation to the "loss" of analogue textual and cinematic formats to a reformulation of the dynamics of "analogy" in the digital age. In considering a number of performance pieces and new media artworks from Asia, the talk will raise the possibility of a flexible model of "the fold," in contrast to the mechanics of perspective, while positioning the valence of longing in relation to the future pull of informatics rather than the past lament of lost artifacts.

Thursday, February 10, 2011
401 Fisher-Bennett Hall
University of Pennsylvania

Friday, February 4, 2011

Yunte Huang on Charlie Chan

The Center for Humanities at Temple is holding a talk by Yunte Huang on the flamboyant cinematic and cultural icon, Charlie Chan and his influence on American culture.

Center for Humanities at Temple University
Gladfelter Hall, 10th floor lounge
Thursday, February 10

Still from DVD Beaver

Yunte Huang is Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He came to the U.S. in 1991 after graduating from Peking University with a B.A. in English. He received his Ph.D. from the Poetics Program at SUNY-Buffalo in 1999 and taught as an Assistant Professor of English at Harvard University from 1999-2003. He is the author of Transpacific Imaginations: History, Literature, Counterpoetics (2008), CRIBS (2005), Transpacific Displacement: Ethnography, Translation, and Intertextual Travel in Twentieth-Century American Literature (2002), and Shi: A Radical Reading of Chinese Poetry (1997), and the translator into Chinese of Ezra Pound's The Pisan Cantos. His new book, Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History, is to be published by W. W. Norton in August 2010.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Bryn Mawr talk: Jennifer Doyle

Bryn Mawr College's
Center for Visual Culture presents:

Associate Professor
Department of English, UC Riverside

Hard Cases:
Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art

Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Bryn Mawr College
Carpenter Library 21

Open to the Community

In this talk, Jennifer Doyle introduces the term "difficulty" into art criticism in order to make room for a conversation about emotion and the politics of intimacy in contemporary art. This work is from a forthcoming book, which looks at work by Linda Montano, Ron Athey, Carrie Mae Weems, James Luna and David Wojnarowicz.

Feb 2011: Franklin Cason

The rescheduled inaugural talk of the semester takes place this Friday:
"The Pleasures of Black Cinema"
Franklin Cason
(Temple University)

Respondent: Caitlin McGrath (Univ. of Chicago)

Temple University Center City campus (TUCC)
Room 420
(bring ID to show front desk)
Friday, February 4, 6:00 pm

Haile Gerima’s Bush Mama (1976) exemplifies early, post-’68 African American art films, and as such is an excellent place to begin thinking about writing practices that re-address cinema aesthetics and politics. Where do we begin analyzing such an intentionally politically charged film?

The root of the indexical dilemma of photogénie found in Bush Mama can be seen in silent, pre-classical examples of black presence on screen. For example, can “blackness” as an aesthetic quality be expressed when presented on film? What criteria do we have for recognizing it? What does black presence evoke on-screen? What are the aesthetic and political effects of this expression? At first, these ideas seem too simplistic for consideration, uncritically aesthetic. Scholarship about black film often privileges social and political interpretations and criticism, while marginalizing aesthetic discussions. Yet, what is rarely addressed in black film analysis is the degree that photogénie, cinematic qualities of excess or aporia, might also mark the interplay between the signification of what is understood as “the black tradition” and the figural possibilities of artistic production. Cinematic aporias as research tools, like Roland Barthes’s “third meanings,” amount to interruptions, sites analogous to Michel Foucault’s third principle of heterotopias, “capable of juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are in themselves incompatible.” They “conduct” their observer along multiple routes, only some of them anticipated by the filmmaker. I suggest, paying attention to cinematic excess complements the priority of critique, enriching our understanding of pleasures found in films like Bush Mama by emphasizing a different approach to writing about films.

Franklin Cason Jr. is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Temple University’s Film and Media Arts department, teaching media production, film theory, and film history courses. He received a PhD in English, with a specialization in film theory, from the University of Florida, and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His research interests have been primarily concerned with Film, Modern Visual Culture, and Media Studies. As such, his research, writing, and artistic practice reaches across the disciplines of art history, film studies, digital multimedia, graphic novels, philosophy, sociology, literature, musicology, aesthetic theory, visual studies, and historical poetics. Drawing on his experience as an artist, writer, and filmmaker, his current research explores aesthetics, cinematic excess, and an improvisational approach to film analysis, in order to reconsider the role of aesthetics in African-American cinema, encouraging a different set of discussions.

Caitlin McGrath completed her dissertation "Captivating Motion: Late-Silent-Era Sequences of Modern Urban Perception" in 2010 from the University of Chicago. Her two current projects are a history of film screenings in department stores, centered on the Wanamaker screenings begun in 1907 and a history of amateur films from the 1939 New York World's Fair.

Monday, January 24, 2011

PCMS blog

Welcome to the blog website for the Philadelphia Cinema and Media Seminar. The seminar is run out of the Center for Humanities at Temple University, with additional support from The University of Pennsylvania's Cinema Studies program, the Film Studies program at Bryn Mawr College and Temple's Department of Film and Media Arts. It aims to bring together scholars from colleges and universities in the area to exchange work in the humanities fields of film and media studies.

The seminar consists of a series of monthly academic talks during the school year. We also program symposia on particular topics, like documentary or new media studies, and cosponsor area events.

Meetings of the seminar consist of a presentation by a talk of approximately 45 minutes, followed by a response that lasts approximately fifteen minutes. A question-and-answer period will occupy the remaining 30 minutes of the meeting. Since a fundamental purpose of the seminar is to cultivate intellectual and institutional collaboration, after the seminar, attendees are invited to go out to dinner together at a nearby restaurant.

This blog will also serve as a clearinghouse for announcements of upcoming talks and information on resources for film and media scholars.