The Society for Cinema and Media Studies is the leading scholarly organization in the United States dedicated to promoting a broad understanding of film, television, and related media through research and teaching grounded in the contemporary humanities tradition.
SCMS encourages excellence in scholarship and pedagogy and fosters critical inquiry into the global, national, and local circulation of cinema, television, and other related media. SCMS scholars situate these media in various contexts, including historical, theoretical, cultural, industrial, social, artistic, and psychological.
SCMS seeks to further media study within higher education and the wider cultural sphere, and to serve as a resource for scholars, teachers, administrators, and the public. SCMS works to maintain productive relationships with organizations in other nations, disciplines, and areas of media study; to foster dialogue between media industries and scholars; and to promote the preservation of our film, television, and media heritage. We encourage membership and participation of scholars and those in related positions not only in the US but around the world.
Who can join?
The Society for Cinema and Media Studies invites students, scholars, filmmakers, and others interested in cinema and media to join our community as individual or institutional members.
What are the benefits of membership?
There are two types of SCMS membership: individual and institutional membership. Individual members receive four issues of Cinema Journal per membership year, and are invited to submit proposals to participate in the annual conference held in locations across the U.S. and abroad. Our website enables members to be in contact with colleagues, collaborators, and mentors. Our online Career Center allows members to access the most up-to-date job listings and gain access to useful insight from professionals about careers in cinema and media studies. Institutional members receive all of these benefits as well as the ability to send a member of their institution to the annual conference. Institutional members can also make use of our Career Center to post an unlimited number of job advertisements for their institutions. They may also feature their institution in our growing resource area online for graduate and undergraduate students interested in the field of cinema and media studies.
How do I join SCMS?
Individuals must first create a profile for the website before they can join. Three types of payment methods (funds must be paid in USD) are available: Credit Card via BLUEPAY, Checks, and Money Orders.
Go to the SCMS website.
Click on Join SCMS found in the top right corner of the page.
Select your general membership type from the list.
Create a username and type in your name.
Select a specific membership type from the drop down list based on your income level.
Complete the member information form to create your profile.
Select Payment Method:
(a) Credit Card (BLUEPAY): If you wish to pay by credit card, please follow the step-by-step instructions on the screen.
(b) Mail: If you wish to pay by check or money order (funds must be in USD), print the membership application and mail along with your payment to the address on the form.
After you submit you have completed everything above, your membership application will be submitted to the SCMS admin, and you will receive e-mail notification when your membership is approved.
When does my membership expire?
Your membership expires on August 31 of each year. The SCMS membership year runs from September 1 through August 31 to accommodate the publication schedule for Cinema Journal. The University of Texas Press publishes one volume with four issues each year: Fall (No. 1), Winter (No. 2), Spring (No. 3) and Summer (No. 4).
If you join or renew after the new membership year has started, you will receive the next issue published, followed by any earlier issues. To ensure that you receive each issue of Cinema Journal, renew your membership before August 31 and keep your mailing address current on the website.
How do I confirm that I paid my membership fee?
You can request a membership confirmation e-mail or change your membership on this page.
Go to the SCMS website.
Sign in by entering your username and password in the "Sign in” area located on the right side of the page.
Click on "Manage Profile” found in the MY PROFILE area located on the right side of the page.
Scroll down to ACCOUNT HISTORY and select Membership. The Membership Information will show your membership status and type.
How can members become involved in the governance of SCMS?
SCMS has by-laws to facilitate the governance and administration of the organization. The Society has also developed policies related to our professional practices, including teaching, publishing, and the reproduction of visual and aural materials.
How does the SCMS Board make decisions about conference locations?
The SCMS annual conference rotates between three regional locations—the East, Midwest, and West—to guarantee parity across our various U.S. constituencies. Cities are selected according to the following criteria (in no particular order): affordability, ease of access to reasonably priced transportation, host committee potential, and local attractions.
Occasionally, the Board elects to hold the conference outside of the United States. In such circumstances, the site is selected and the conference is scheduled according to the regional rotation already in place. For example, the London 2005 conference was held during the year that the conference was slated to be held in the east and the Vancouver 2006 conference was held the year that it was scheduled for the west.
How are conference hotels selected?
The SCMS Board of Directors employs a conference consultant to collect bids from various hotels located in the conference city. Hotels are invited to make bids for the conference based on the specialized needs of SCMS, including total number of meeting rooms, exhibition space, room rates and quality of accommodations, and technology capabilities. Our conference consultant is charged with finding the most reasonable rates while also meeting our list of needs. The conference consultant is also responsible for negotiating rates for technology (including DVD players, monitors, and data projection in meeting rooms and, when possible, wireless capabilities).
How may I participate in the conference?
There are several major ways that one can participate in the SCMS conference.
Deliver a Paper. Papers are formal presentations of original research that are either read or delivered. Papers are expected to be original research. This may be the exploration of a previously unresearched topic, or the reevaluation of existing work in light of new evidence or methodologies. Papers are often -- but not always -- portions of book chapters, dissertations, or scholarly articles. Paper proposals are judged on their potential contribution to the field of Cinema and Media Studies.
Participate in a Workshop. Workshops are designed to stimulate conversation and interaction among the presenters and the audience. Workshop participants sometimes give a brief presentation (seven minutes or less) that is less formal than a paper. In some instances, workshop participants simply answer questions from the audience. Workshops often revolve around more practical aspects of the field: pedagogy, research strategies, and methodologies or may explore major intellectual issues/trends in the discipline.You can also participate in the conference by chairing a panel or a workshop or serving as a respondent to a panel.
Chair a panel or workshop. (Please see FAQ below regarding chair responsibilities.)
How do workshops differ from panels?
Workshops are limited to a maximum of 5 participants. They are distinct from panels in that they focus on field-specific topics with brief presentations by panelists that lead to focused and substantive discussion and debate among workshop participants and others attending the event. Workshop participants do not read papers. Workshops are intended to be dialogical and productive workspaces. Topics are typically focused on pedagogy, research strategies, and methodologies or may explore major intellectual issues/trends in the discipline.
Do I need to be a member of SCMS to submit a proposal?
No. Anyone can submit a proposal without being a current member of SCMS. If the proposal is accepted, individuals will need to become members of SCMS, register and pay the conference registration fee before the registration deadline. To submit a proposal or to be included as a presenter on a panel or a workshop proposal, individuals must be registered users of the website as temporary members.
How many times can I participate?
Members may serve in only TWO capacities—which must be different—during the conference. (The exception is for invitations to participate in special events, such as the plenary session.) This allows a maximum number of members to participate in the annual conference. For instance, members may:
Deliver a paper and chair a panel.
Deliver a paper on a panel and participate in a workshop.
Deliver a paper on a panel and serve as a respondent.
Chair a workshop and serve as a respondent on a panel.
Chair a panel and participate in a workshop.
How long can my presentation be?
Paper presentations on panels should last no longer than 20 minutes. Because of the limited time (which includes both orally delivered material and any visual clips) most papers attempt to make only two or three major points. Clip time should be included in the total 20 minutes.
Please Note: Panel and Workshop Sessions are one hour and 45 minutes in length. When there are more than three or four presenters, the chair is responsible for allocating an equal amount of time for each. Sessions run concurrently and continuously throughout the day. Caucus, Scholarly Interest Group and committee meetings are scheduled throughout the day. Consequently rooms must be cleared promptly at the end of the time period to allow for the next panel, workshop or meeting.
How do I submit a proposal for the SCMS conference?
To submit a proposal for the SCMS conference, individuals must register for the website before submitting a proposal online. If an individual is part of a panel or workshop, the organizer or chair is responsible for submitting all papers or participants within the panel or workshop. It is the individual’s responsibility to send all the required information to the organizer for input. Individuals can submit open call paper proposals directly online but are limited to one proposal per individual. For submission requirements, examples and additional details about submitting a proposal online, please visit the "Submission Forms” topic located under the "Conference” topic.
What are the responsibilities of the panel or workshop chair?
Panel Chair: Whether he or she has organized the panel or volunteered to chair, the panel chair has three primary functions. First, the chair introduces the panel and the individual panelists. It is recommended that the chair contact the panelists prior to the conference to get a brief biographical statement that can be presented as an introduction. (This often includes information about affiliations, rank, recent publications, and current research interests.) Introductions of any individual should last no more than one minute. Second, the chair is responsible for insuring that panelists adhere to their time limit. The time limit for paper presentations is twenty minutes. Chairs will usually notify the presenter with a pre-arranged signal if he or she is approaching the time limit. It is the chair's responsibility to make sure that no presenter goes over the allotted time, which might impinge on the time of the other presenters. Third, the chair facilitates questions and discussion after all papers have been delivered. Finally, the chair also clears the room promptly to make way for the next session. The chair of a pre-constituted panel is responsible for informing her or his panelists that their panel has been accepted or rejected.
Workshop Chair: The workshop chair's role is similar to that of the panel chair, although the workshop chair is more active in facilitating dialogue between the workshop participants and among audience members.
Can I serve as chair on more than one panel or workshop?
No. Please give others the opportunity to chair by proposing only a single panel or workshop in which you act as chair.
What is a "respondent”?
A respondent is an individual who generally possesses specialized knowledge of the panel's topic. A respondent usually reads all of the papers prior to the conference and attempts to draw out particular lines of thought shared by the presentations to arrive at some broader conclusion.
Does my panel have to have a respondent?
Usually the audience serves in this role by asking questions and making comments about the papers.
Do I have to indicate that my panel will have a respondent with the panel proposal?
Yes. Your proposal should indicate that your panel includes a respondent, and that individual's relevant information, when it is submitted.
As the chair of my panel can I also serve as respondent?
No. It is assumed that the respondent provides objective feedback on the papers presented on the panel. As chair (and in most instances, organizer) of a panel, it is assumed you might not have the necessary distance from the papers to provide objective commentary.
Are the deadlines firm?
How many papers can I propose?
You can propose only one paper for the conference. That paper can either be proposed as part of a pre-constituted panel or as part of the open call. You cannot propose the same paper on both a panel and as part of the open call. You must choose whether you would like your paper to be part of a pre-constituted panel, or if you want to propose it as part of the open call.
How many individuals from a single institution can be on a panel or workshop?
No more than two individuals from any single institution should be included in any proposed panel or workshop.
How many participants can be on a pre-constituted panel?
Optimum number of panelists: Four presenters (includes chair if presenting) or three presenters (includes chair if presenting) and a respondent. Panels with fewer than four presenters or more than four presenters are at a disadvantage in the selection process.
How many participants can be on a workshop?
Workshop proposals should have five presenters only.
What is the Program Committee and who is on it?
The Program Committee is charged with selecting the best proposals to create the annual conference program. There are 22 members of the Conference Program Committee selected from the Board of Directors and the membership at large to balance diversity and expertise represented on the Committee as a whole. Due to the number of proposals the Committee must review and the short time period in which the reviews must be completed, they cannot provide feedback on individual proposals.The Program Committee Chair alternates between the SCMS president-elect and a member of the Board of Directors. The Program Committee is made up entirely of volunteers. As such, your cooperation in limiting queries and special requests to the Program Committee is greatly appreciated.
What is the difference between a "pre-constituted panel" and the "open call"?
Pre-constituted panels can be formed in two ways. In the first case, several individuals who are interested in forming a panel might meet at the conference, on-line, or through some other means. They discuss their panel, designate a chair, and send in their proposal as a pre-constituted panel -- usually consisting of four papers, or three papers and a respondent. In the second case, an individual may attempt to organize a panel by posting a call for papers on the conference "bulletin board" in the months prior to the proposal deadline. People contact the organizer with suggestions for papers, and the organizer selects those people she or he would like to participate on the panel. The organizer also informs those people who have not been selected in a timely fashion. The organizer then submits the panel by the proposal deadline.
The open call is the opportunity for individuals to submit papers that are not part of a pre-constituted panel. If an open call paper is accepted, members of the Program Committee and conference staff will assign it to an open call panel with other papers on similar topics or research methodologies.
At the conference there is no distinction made between panels that were pre-constituted and those that have been created through the open call.
How are proposals judged?
After your proposal is submitted online, the Program Committee Chair then assigns the proposal to a team of two readers from the Program Committee. The readers evaluate the proposal individually and then compare their respective scores. Readers look for originality, scope, and depth of research, and attempt to assess whether the paper will make a contribution to the field. Secondarily, the readers consider whether the proposal has followed the rules for submission. A joint score is forwarded to the Program Committee Chair.
The Program Committee Chair will only weigh in on a decision in the event of a radically split vote (e.g., one committee member thinks a proposal is great, the other thinks it is terrible). The Chair does not overrule the decisions of the readers. The Program Committee Chair is responsible for creating panels from the open call and assigning the panels and workshops to time slots and rooms. Time and room assignments are based in some measure on equipment needs, and efforts are made not to have too many panels or workshops on similar topics competing in a single time slot or bunched together on a single day. Because of the complexity of putting the program together, requests for special times or days cannot be honored.
What if someone has to drop off my panel after I submitted it or after it was accepted? Can I substitute another presenter and paper?
No. All proposals must go through the review procedure. You cannot substitute someone at a later point. It is useful to have a full complement of four presenters on pre-constituted panels so that if an individual does have to drop out you will still have a panel of three.
Can I substitute a different paper after my paper has been accepted?
No. Your paper (or panel or workshop) was judged and accepted on the merits of the proposal. You cannot substitute something different after your proposal has been accepted.
Can I present a paper that has already been, or will be, presented at another conference?
It is expected that any paper presented at the SCMS Conference is original and has not been previously presented. Presenting material that has been accepted for publication in a journal or anthology, but which has not gone to print before the conference, is acceptable.
Can I change the name of my paper, panel, or workshop, after it is submitted?
Yes. Contact the home office at email@example.com prior to the specified deadline for changes and corrections. (This date may vary from year to year.) Note that your title can change, but the content of the paper, panel, or workshop must continue to be consistent with the proposal submitted.
Can I request a day and time for my presentation?
Requests for times or days for paper presentations are not allowed due to the large number of participants.
Can I contact the Administrative Office after the deadline to make sure they've received my paper?
This is not a good idea due to the volume of work faced by the SCMS Office when proposals are submitted.
I'm not sure if I'll be able to attend the conference or not. Should I submit a proposal anyway?
Please submit proposals only if you plan to attend the conference. If you are unsure about whether you will have the time, be able to finish a paper, or get funding, perhaps it's best to wait until the next year to submit your proposal. It takes time to process, read, evaluate, and schedule every paper, panel, and workshop. When you put individuals through this work for a proposal that you don't deliver, you have wasted the Program Committee's time (which is done on a volunteer basis), as well as that of the SCMS Administrative Office.
Why was my paper, panel, or workshop proposal rejected?
There may be many reasons why a proposal was rejected. It is possible that the readers did not feel the proposal made a contribution to the field, or that it was one of several proposals on the same topic. It is possible that the proposal replicated work that was presented at a recent SCMS conference. Finally, it is possible that the proposal did not follow submission guidelines in some way. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of submissions, the Program Committee cannot respond to inquiries about rejections.
My proposals are never, or almost never, accepted. What am I doing wrong?
First, ask yourself whether you are carefully following all the submission procedures. Second, ask yourself if the work is original or if it is simply a rehash of existing work. Third, ask yourself if your proposal is suited for the SCMS conference or if it might not find a more logical fit with another conference (e.g., a conference on journalism, rhetoric, etc.). Finally, ask a peer who has been "successful" at having her or his papers or panels accepted to see copies of those proposals for tips.
Are the proposals of professors or "senior scholars" given preference over graduate students and independent researchers?
No. All proposals are examined for their merits. The SCMS Program Committee welcomes proposals from individuals at all levels within the field of cinema and media studies as well as the work of independent scholars and researchers.
Are panels or workshops that are sponsored by caucuses or interest groups given special consideration?
No. As above, all proposals are judged on their individual merits.
If I cannot attend the conference can someone else present my paper?
No. The SCMS Policy is that the person whose paper has been accepted must read the paper. Substitute readers are forbidden.
What if my proposal was accepted but I have to cancel?
Sometimes things come up that may force you to cancel participation in the conference -- a health issue, a family emergency, etc. In such an event, contact the home office at firstname.lastname@example.org and the Chair of your panel or workshop immediately and inform them that you will not be able to participate in the conference. If you are the Chair of a panel or workshop you should also inform your panelists to see if one can step into your role as chair and then report this to the home office as well.
Obviously extenuating circumstances do crop up, but not to attend the conference without a legitimate reason when your proposal was accepted is unprofessional. If an individual habitually cancels, that individual may find her or his proposals will receive less favorable attention for future conferences. The registration fee refund deadline varies from year to year but is posted on the conference pages of the website. Unless the deadline has passed, please request a refund by email to .
Can I co-present a paper?
Yes. However, co-presented papers are given the same amount of time --20 minutes-- as papers presented by a single individual.
Throughout the year, SCMS conducts much of its organizational business via committees. There are two types of committees: Standing Committees and Annual Committees.Standing Committees carry a three-year term and focus on administrative and policy issues. Annual Committees focus on the specific tasks that occur within a calendar year, namely, conference organization and awards. Descriptions of SCMS committees can be found here.
How does one join a committee?
Committee membership rotates on a regular basis, and each spring following the conference, the SCMS President issues a call for participation, inviting SCMS members to volunteer for committee service. You may respond directly to this invitation or simply let the Home Office know the committee(s) on which you would like to serve. In consultation with committee chairs, the SCMS Board of Directors works from the list of volunteers in order to staff committees.
Committee service is vital to the well-being and functioning of SCMS. Service on a committee brings you inside the organization in ways that go beyond attendance at the annual conference. Committee service provides an excellent way to interact with one’s professional colleagues and contribute to the organization.
How much work is involved?
In general, committee service does not impose a heavy burden of time. Much of a committee’s work throughout the year is transacted via email, and the annual activities report that each committee furnishes the Board of Directors is relatively brief. The professional, intellectual, and networking benefits of committee service far outweigh the time that is required.
How do I apply for an SCMS Award?
While publishers and journal editors are invited to nominated books and essays for SCMS awards, individual SCMS members are encouraged to apply directly on their own behalf or to nominate other members. Application forms are submitted online by the annual August 1 deadline. Please see the Awards section of this website for full eligibility requirements and forms for each award.
I have recently published my first book, and wonder if I should apply for both the Best First Book Award and the Kovacs Book Award. May I apply for more than one book award simultaneously?
No book may compete for more than one SCMS award.
How do I nominate someone for either the Distinguished Career or Pedagogy Award?
To nominate someone for the Distinguished Career award, please submit a completed nomination form to the SCMS office by August 1. Nominations should include the following information: name, affiliation, mailing address, and email address of the nominee. Nominations must also include a statement in support of the nominee.
To nominate someone for the Pedagogy award, please submit a completed nomination form to the SCMS office by August 1. Nominations should include the following information: name, affiliation, mailing address, and email address of the nominee. Nominations must also include a statement in support of the nominee.
What are the deadlines for the various awards?
The deadline for all awards is August 1.
Caucuses and Scholarly Interest Groups
What is a Caucus?
A Caucus is a group that seeks to address issues of racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, and class underrepresentation within the SCMS organization and in the academy at large.
Do I have to be part of an underrepresented group to be a Caucus member?
No. While many Caucus members come from groups that have been underrepresented at SCMS and/or in the academy, what defines the Caucuses is a common political, social, cultural, and academic interest in tackling underrepresentation in terms of membership, scholarship, and networking opportunities.
If I am part of an underrepresented group, am I required to join a Caucus?
No. Members are not required to join Caucuses.
What Caucuses currently exist?
African/African American Caucus
Asian/Pacific American Caucus
Caucus on Class
Middle East Caucus
I want to create a new Caucus. What should I do?
You need to draft a petition to the SCMS Board of Directors. The petition must state the purpose of the caucus and include a list of members interested in creating the Caucus.
Are Caucuses automatically approved?
No. The Board of Directors, at its discretion, may approve or deny the formation of a Caucus.
How many Caucuses may I join?
As many as you would like to join.
Who may join a Caucus?
Any member of the Society who is in good standing may join a Caucus.
How can I join a Caucus?
By updating your member profile on the SCMS website.
What is a Scholarly Interest Group (SIG)?
A Scholarly Interest Group is a group comprised of SCMS members who share an interest in a particular medium, a genre, a methodology, the media of a particular nation or region, or any other subcategory within the rubric of Cinema and Media Studies.
What is the purpose of the SIGs?
SIGs are formed and maintained to provide fellowship and networking opportunities for their members, and to support scholarship, pedagogy, and mentoring in that particular area within SCMS.
What SIGs currently exist?
Animated Media Scholarly Interest Group
Central/East/South European Cinemas Scholarly Interest Group
CinemArts: Film and Art History Scholarly Interest Group
Cognitive/Analytical Scholarly Interest Group
Contemporary Theory Scholarly Interest Group
Documentary Studies Scholarly Interest Group
Experimental Film and Media Scholarly Interest Group
Film and Media Festivals Scholarly Interest Group
French Francophone Scholarly Interest Group
Media Industries Scholarly Interest Group
Media Literacy & Outreach Scholarly Interest Group
Nontheatrical Film and Media Scholarly Interest Group
Oscar Micheaux Society
Radio Studies Scholarly Interest Group
Sound Studies Scholarly Interest Group
Television Studies Scholarly Interest Group
Transnational Cinemas Scholarly Interest Group
Urban Studies Scholarly Interest Group
Video Game Studies Scholarly Interest Group
Women in Screen History Scholarly Interest Group
Who may join a SIG?
Any member of the Society who is in good standing may join a SIG.
How does an SCMS member go about joining a SIG?
Members may affiliate themselves with SIGs by updating their member profile on the SCMS website. Members may also request participation in a SIG by contacting one of its co-chairs.
How many SIGs may an SCMS member join?
An SCMS member may join as many SIGs as s/he desires. There is no limit.
May SIG members also be members of Caucuses?
How many members must each SIG have to remain active?
What is the leadership structure for the SIGs?
Each Scholarly Interest Group elects Co-Chairs who serve staggered terms of three years each.
How much funding is allotted to each SIG annually, and for what can those funds be used?
Scholarly Interest Groups are granted $500.00 each year. These funds may be used to cover travel expenses for invited speakers at the group’s annual meeting or at screenings accepted as part of the conference, exhibit tables for the conference, receptions, etc. If unexpended, these funds revert to the general SCMS fund at the end of each fiscal year.
What responsibilities does a SIG have to the SCMS Board of Directors?
Each SIG is responsible for developing its own mission statement and by-laws and submitting them to the Home Office.
Each SIG must submit to the Board an annual report of its activities at least two weeks prior to the spring Board meeting. If substantial activity and/or changes in leadership occurwithin the SIG after the Board’s spring meeting, the SIG should submit an interim report to the Board prior to its fall meeting.
Each Scholarly Interest Group must submit a request to the Program Committee for conference time and space to meet at the annual meeting.
Each Scholarly Interest Group should submit recommendations of screenings for the annual meeting to the Screening Committee.
Each Scholarly Interest Group should submit to the Home Office recommendations for sponsored panels and/or workshops following the notification of acceptances/rejections and prior to the publication of the conference program.
Each Scholarly Interest Group is responsible for working with the Board to develop and maintain its web pages within the larger SCMS website.
What is the process by which new SIGs are formed?
Those SCMS members desiring to form a new Scholarly Interest Group must submit to the SCSM Board of Directors a mission statement, a list of its potential members (at least 25), and a copy of its bylaws. The Board of Directors may approve or deny the formation of a Scholarly Interest Group.
What are the SCMS Archives?
SCMS, as an established scholarly association, maintains records of its meetings, conferences, publications, and other activities since its original formation as the Society of Cinematologists (1959-1969) through its incarnation as the Society for Cinema Studies (1969-2002).
How can I access the SCMS Archives?
These records are archived at the Stanford University Archive. A finding aid is available [insert link to downloadable file "M1210: Finding Guide to The Records of the Society for Cinema Studies, 1957-2000”] and interested scholars should visit the Stanford University Archive website for more information about accessing the collection: http://library.stanford.edu/depts/spc/