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Family Ties: Kinship, Collaboration, and Power in Film and Media

October 1, 2016

CFP Deadline EXTENDED TO AUGUST 15, 2016!

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Karen Redrobe, History of Art, University of Pennsylvania.

Family Ties: Kinship, Collaboration, and Power in Film and Media

Keynote Speaker: Karen Redrobe, University of Pennsylvania, Department of History of Art.
University of Pittsburgh, October 1st, 2016
Hosted by the Film Studies Graduate Student Organization (FSGSO)
Call for Papers | Deadline: August 15, 2016

The value neutral concept of film as inherently collaborative exists both in the industry and academia, yet such partnerships and marriages can also form narrow, exclusionary in-groups. How might looking at film and film studies through the lens of the family and the kinship group reveal something potentially more intimate, charged, or even transgressive in “collaboration”? What are the potentials and limitations of seeing oneself as part of a school of thought, or a family of thinkers? Is there something incestuous in the concept of philosophical and theoretical genres? Do the allure of intermarriage and the taboo eroticism of incestuousness impose an erotics upon collaboration or generate an erotic intimacy in academic relationships? What meaningful lines of influence were the result of productive and destructive genealogies? This conference will explore how inter-family and intra-family co-mingling have influenced cinematic representations in film and television as well as within film culture, industry practices, and critical inheritance.

Collaboration and interactivity are sites of power, control, and eroticism. How might we conceive of them within the framework of media and film studies? How do concepts of family and kinship lend themselves to an understanding of these dynamics? If collaboration is conceived of as intermarriage, might we observe the same normative patterns of dominance that often attend that institution? Similarly, is there a risk that incestuous collaboration may be captured within theories and realities of kink, abuse, and conventional romance? The mandates of homogeneity manifest in various technologies and media practices, and run the gamut from #OscarsSoWhite to Pokemon Go. How do in- and out-group dynamics shape and influence particular media? Lastly, but no less importantly, how do representations of kinship, intermarriage, incestuousness, interactivity and other models of collaboration reinforce or challenge the ways in which these practices are commonly conceived?

Possible Topics Could Include:

-Interwoven lines of influence and affinity in artistic and scholarly work (citations, homages, institutions)

-Explicit and implicit themes and representation of incest in films, television and other media.

-Incestuousness as a lens to understand production, marketing, and consumption (for example, binge watching as product loyalty)

-Theories of incest and of inter-cultural exchange (for example, Bataille, Levi-Strauss, Freud)

-Film Family Dynasties: Coppola, Barrymore, Warner Brothers, De Laurentis

-Narratives and experiences of familial trauma and abuse

-Medium Specificity, Greenberg, Mixed Media

-Film-Units, Directing Teams, Ensemble Casting: Arthur Freed, Coen Brothers, Orson Welles’ Mercury Theater Ensemble

-Kinship as exclusion, xenophobia, Incestuous institutions, nepotism

-Critical schools of thought and theoretical adoptive lineages: Derrideans, Frankfurt School

-Proprietary media technologies and software (“(in)Compatibility” between devices, brands etc.)

-Theories and representations of cloning (the uncanny valley)

-Theories and narratives of sexualized and/or familial creation (Pygmalion, Frankenstein)

Interested graduate students may submit abstracts (maximum 300 words) – along with institutional/departmental affiliations and current email – to by AUGUST 15, 2016. We also invite creative submissions (film, video, installation) responding to our theme in forms other than the traditional conference paper. If you go this route, please submit a description (maximum 300 words) that includes spatial, temporal, and technological requirements. For more information, please contact the FSGSO by email at the above address.