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Transnational Cinemas Scholarly Interest Group (Founded 2012)
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SCMS Scholarly Interest Group Proposal

Transnational Cinemas


Mission Statement

As conceptions of ‘national’ cinema are increasingly brought into question across contemporary scholarship, the search for an alternative paradigm coalesces time and again around the word ‘transnational’. Implicit within this term is recognition of the unstable, movable nature of the ‘national’ referent in a globalised era, problematising notions of a local industry talking to and for its nation state. By positing a polycentric relationship between industries, such approaches locate the practices of production, distribution and consumption as sites of cultural blending, offering fertile ground for nuanced socio-historical analysis.

Yet, if the ‘national’ is a fraught concept, so too is the ‘transnational’. There is no consensus over whether the phrase ‘transnational cinema’ describes processes of industrial collaboration across borders, of the ‘localisation’ of filmic products as they traverse the globe, or of foreign influences coming to bear upon the production of the film text. Furthermore, the cultural, political or historical position of the individual scholar is another potentially problematic element in the construction of a ‘transnational’ discourse. Are we too products of a ‘transnational’ subjectivity and, if so, what value judgements do we bring to our analysis?

The term is often substituted with alternatives: most commonly, ‘transcultural’, which takes account of the fact that ‘culture’ is not necessarily tied to regional imperatives. Indeed, the very term ‘transnational’ can be seen to privilege the ‘national’ referent by positioning itself as an oppositional paradigm. The debates here summarised are seldom undertaken in a programmatic manner. More often, ‘transnational’, ‘international’, ‘transcultural’ or ‘global’ appellations are used as interchangeable buzz-words. This Scholarly Interest Group, therefore, would be a timely intervention, offering a dynamic, polysemous forum for these and related issues.

Aims and Objectives

  1. To provide a forum and network for international scholars and students to support academic research and collaboration around transnational cinema.
  2. To support Cinema Journal and other Film and Media publications to foster publications in the field of transnational cinema.
  3. To schedule a yearly meeting at the SCMS conference where we can gather to formulate specific projects, such as joint conferences, screenings, festivals and publications on related topics.
  4. To sponsor panels and workshops at the SCMS annual conference.
  5. To work with the SCMS Executive Committee and each year's Conference Program Committee as a source of expertise around transnational cinema.
  6. To work with other SCMS groups whose themes intersect with our own.
  7. To encourage international membership and participation in SCMS for scholars in other countries whose research interests intersect with our own.
  8. To develop a web resource for use by members and to communicate the purpose of the Group, and to explore other forms of output.
  9. To attract a membership reflecting the full social, cultural and international diversity of the Society.


  1. All members of the Transnational Cinemas Interest Group (TCSIG) must be members in good standing of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS).
  2. Annual meetings of the Group will be convened at the SCMS conference.
  3. Two members of the TCSIG will serve as co-chairs for four-year terms. Election of the Co-chairs shall be conducted at the first annual meeting of the Group during the 2013 conference with the outcome reported to the SCMS Board of Directors.
  4. In addition to the co-chairs, a graduate student representative will be elected at the first annual meeting of the Group during the 2013 conference.
  5. It will be the responsibilities of the Co-Chairs to:
    1. communicate with the membership
    2. organize the annual meetings and prepare minutes of the business discussed
    3. request appropriate funds to support TCSIG programming at the conference.
    4. report annually to the SCMS Board of Directors on the Group’s activities and attendance figures for the last meeting
    5. advise on the maintenance of the website, and related social media outlets
  6. It will be the responsibility of the graduate student representative to coordinate graduate student networks within the SIG, and to communicate graduate student-specific information to them.
  7. Each year the Co-Chairs will submit a request to the Program Committee of the SCMS conference for a time and space to meet (in response to the annual call made by the Committee to SIGs).
  8. At all meetings of the Group, ten members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. The vote of the majority of members present at a meeting at which a quorum is present constitutes the action of the Group.
  9. Any member of the TCSIG may make a proposal regarding the TCSIG or its activities.
    1. Members must forward to the co-chairs all proposals prior to placing the proposal before the TCSIG membership. It is the responsibility and duty of the co-chairs to then forward all proposals to membership. However, no approval by either or both co-chairs is required for proposals to be advanced to membership.
    2. When issues are submitted to the members of the Group for vote via e-mail, the members shall have seven business days to respond. The subject line of the e-mail shall contain the word ‘vote’ to alert members to act.
    3. Within the voting time period specified in each proposal, members may debate the merits of any proposal as much as they like.
    4. Members may vote only once on any proposal. Members are thus encouraged to carefully consider any and all arguments regarding a proposal before voting.
  10. Action on behalf of the Group may be taken without a meeting if a majority of the members of the Group provide consent by writing or e-mail. The written consents shall be filed with the minutes of the next meeting.

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Chelsea Rose WesselsWilliam Costanzo and Xiuhe Zhang

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