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Contemporary Theory Scholarly Interest Group (Founded 2011)
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SCMS Contemporary Theory Scholarly Interest Group

CONTACTS:

Scott Ferguson:  sferguson@usf.edu

Scott Richmond:  scr@wayne.edu


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I. Mission Statement

The Contemporary Theory Scholarly Interest Group seeks to be a forum within SCMS for those "doing theory” in relation to the cinema and other moving image media, with the conviction that speculative and theoretical thinking about cinema and media is a vital practice for disciplines of cinema and media studies. The terms "contemporary” and "theory” in the title are meant to be expansive and inclusive. "Doing theory” can mean many things from many different approaches and perspectives. Whether it be psychoanalytical, structuralist, post-structuralist, phenomenological, critical, philosophical, or otherwise, "theory” can mean any practice of thinking that continually poses the questions of what cinema and media do or can do, what they are or can be, how they work or can work. This is not to merely to retread the methodological orthodoxies of the history of film theory, but rather to reopen, even to reinvent, the ways we have of thinking about cinema and media. Doing theory simply means inventing new concepts for the cinema and for moving image media.

"Contemporary” here is meant to be equally capacious. The term contemporary is meant to open up, not close down, the objects and approaches which might be usefully explored under the rubric of "contemporary theory.” Contemporary, then, might indicate an investigation and elaboration of theoretical approaches to cinema after the end of "classical” film theory (e.g. Christian Metz, et al.). Or, it could mean speculation and theoretical reflection on the cinema and media of our contemporary moment (however long this moment may be). In this light, it may even mean thinking film theory and media theory separately in order to think them together. In sum, the Contemporary Theory SIG aims to bring together scholars working to expand the scope, breadth, and depth of speculative thinking about the cinema and moving image media.

One of the main goals of the Contemporary Theory SIG lies in promoting explicitly speculative thought in the disciplines of cinema and media studies. As such, one of its most important activities will be to sponsor panels and workshops at the SCMS annual conference. Sponsorship by the Contemporary Theory SIG will provide useful information to the membership of SCMS: it will indicate the presence of a specifically theoretical agenda, whose presence is frequently not obvious from the panel and paper titles alone.

II. Objectives

• To hold a yearly meeting at the SCMS annual conference, where scholars doing speculative and theoretical work can come together to work on, share, and help one another with scholarship, programming, and other projects.

• To provide a forum for scholars interested in speculative and critical theoretical thinking about the cinema by organizing panels and workshops for the SCMS annual conference.

• To sponsor panels and workshops at the SCMS annual conference.

• To promote the practices of speculative and theoretical reflection on cinema and media through the various activities of the Group.

• To work withCinema Journaland other film and media publications to encourage publication of theoretical work, including special issues, dossiers, interviews, etc.

• To encourage and enable connections between film and media scholars and scholars doing speculative work in other disciplines, including literature, philosophy, anthropology, art history, etc.

• To develop a network of scholars working in the fields of film and media theory, which can serve as professional and academic resource for the SIG membership, as well as a platform to distribute calls for papers, publicize events, share relevant news, etc.

• To organize special projects, including designated panels, joint conferences, plenary participation, screenings, workshops, and web-based initiatives.


View members' group page >


Groups sections:
Caucuses | Scholarly Interest Groups | Graduate Student Organization | Request Funding

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