CFP: “Visions of the Future: Global SF Cinema”

The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, April 12-14, 2012

Keynote Speakers:
Professor N. Katherine Hayles (Literature Program, Duke University)
Professor Thomas LaMarre (East Asian Studies, Art History and Communications Studies, McGill University)

Once considered a marginal object of study, science fiction (SF) is undergoing a radical revision in academic circles, increasingly positioned as a privileged site for interpreting contemporary theoretical concerns on a global scale. Filmmakers throughout the world work both within and outside of the mainstream to pose alternative visions of globalization and its discontents, as showcased in films such as District 9 (Neill Blomkamp, South Africa, 2009),Sleep Dealer (Alex Rivera, U.S.-Mexico, 2008), The Host (Bong Joon-ho, South Korea, 2006), and Pumzi (Wanuri Kahiu, Kenya, 2009).
At the same time, shifts in international filmmaking practices call for a reconsideration of SF cinema, not as an abstract category, but in terms of the networks it makes possible. The rise of digital filmmaking, for example, has implications for the production of peripheral SF; cyberculture has altered how SF is produced, distributed, and received.
“Visions of the Future: Global SF Cinema,” made possible by an Arts and Humanities Initiative Grant from the University of Iowa, is designed to define an emerging field, moving away from the paradigm of national cinema to bring together shared theoretical frameworks, identifying new models and methods to help us investigate SF cinema’s relationship to contemporary global problems.
We invite proposals for papers that examine the multiple permutations of SF film around the world, from its origins to the contemporary moment. While we welcome all abstracts, we are especially interested in papers that address one or more of the following:

*immigration, citizenship, and labor
*shifting constructions of identity (including race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, and sexuality)
*theories of technology (such as posthumanism, transhumanism, techno-horror, cyberpunk, and techno-utopias/dystopias)
*bioethics and contagion
*imperialism, neo-imperialism, and the legacy of colonialism
*ecocriticism and environmental catastrophe
*how SF “travels” in and through dubbing, subtitling, and the film festival circuit
*cross-cultural SF film adaptations and remakes
*theories of temporality and history in “multiple” or “alternative” modernities
*SF and new media (including virtual realities, video games and MMORPG, mobile phones, online fandoms, and special effects such as CGI and 3-D)

The organizers will coordinate panels according to shared theoretical concerns, rather than regional or national specialization, to ensure interdisciplinary dialogue. Selected papers will be included in a refereed collection of previously unpublished essays on global SF cinema.
In addition to scholarly panels, the conference will feature screenings of key films in the SF genre from different national cinemas, followed by discussions.
Submission Information:
Please send an abstract (approximately 300 words), accompanied by a brief biographical note (approximately 250 words), Proposals should be sent as Word (.doc/.docx) or PDF files. All submissions will be acknowledged. Deadline: August 31, 2011. Notification will be sent by September 15.
Jennifer Feeley, Assistant Professor, Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures; Cinema and Comparative Literature
Sarah Ann Wells, Assistant Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
The University of Iowa

CFP: Traffic–Media Transatlantic IV

Harold Innis taught us to look at the media as a form of traffic. Media products/signs travel just like things and people; constantly flowing, they overcome space and time, partly on communal and partly on dedicated networks.
Traffic is the sum of its parts, made up of an infinite number of acts of transport and transfer. It is, however, more than that, because traffic has its own logic and forms its own structures and rules.
Traffic is frequently compared with water: it finds a way, forms trickles, raging currents and dissipative structures. In certain places it collects, accumulates, stands still; or seeps away. Traffic and sign traffic cannot be stopped: they overcome any obstacle, penetrate everything and
wear away anything fixed: one can plan, steer and direct them, but probably not control them.
Sign traffic poses a particular problem when it comes to observation. There is no “royal overlooking position” from which there would be a view of the entire proceedings; it is difficult to describe in qualitative terms, while empirical approaches must rely on counting.This conference is intended to take up the image proposed by Innis and view the media as a form of traffic. To this end, the following questions, for example, are of relevance:
• Which media phenomena can be described in traffic terms more accurately than in another perspective? Is it just a metaphor, or more?
• Which conceptions of traffic are represented in which fields of knowledge? Which of them are viable in an analysis of the media?
• Is a comprehensive traffic science, encompassing the traffic of commodities, people and signs alike, conceivable?
• Would this be identical to a kind of media ‘logistics’? Or to a theory about society on the whole, if Marx speaks of ‘forms of intercourse’ and Luhmann of ‘communication’?
• Which associations do the different connotations of the term entail? In English drug traffic, illicit transactions und air traffic control, in German communication in general, and sexual intercourse…
• What is the relationship between traffic and infrastructure? Is traffic only possible on the basis of established infrastructures, or does infrastructure come as a consequence of traffic’s requirements? What is the relationship between traffic and technology?
• Are there specific economic rules that steer the flow of traffic?
• Does traffic –as an adaptive system– allow for a bridging of media theory, fluid dynamics and the analysis of complex systems?
• What do network theories contribute to the understanding of sign traffic?
• What role does storage –Innis refers to staple production– play in relation to flow and traffic?
• Are there also traffic accidents, tail-backs or blocks in the media sphere?The scheduled conference continues a series of events, which started in 2007 and aim to bring together media scholars from the USA, Canada and Germany:

  • Re-Reading McLuhan:

An International Conference on Media and Culture in the 21st Century,
Feb. 14-18, 2007, Schloss Thurnau, University of Bayreuth, Germany
Hosts: Klaus Benesch, Kerstin Schmidt, Martina Leeker, Derrick de Kerckhove
Publ.: de Kerckhove, Derrick; Leeker, Martina; Schmidt, Kerstin (ed.):
McLuhan neu lesen. Kritische Analysen zu Medien und Kultur im 21. Jahrhundert. Bielefeld: Transcript 2008

  • Media Theory on the Move.

Transatlantic Perspectives on Media and Mediation
May 21-23, 2009, University of Potsdam, Germany
Host: Dieter Mersch

  • Media Transatlantic

Media Theory in North America and German-Speaking Europe
April 8-10, 2010, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Hosts: Norm Friesen, Richard Cavell

The Media Transatlantic IV – Traffic conference is organised by the Graduiertenkolleg “Automatisms” (Research Training Group) at the University of Paderborn, Germany .

The Research TG will cover part of your travel expenses.
Please send your title and an abstract of about 500 characters to:
Prof. Dr. Hartmut Winkler [ ].
Deadline for submissions is July 31, 2011.

Film & TV Reading Group

In connection with the Initiative für interdisziplinäre Medienforschung, Florian Groß and Shane Denson are planning a film and television reading group, open to interested students, PhD candidates, and faculty members alike. Beginning in the coming winter semester, we plan to meet regularly to discuss classic and contemporary texts in film and television studies (including both general theoretical texts and more narrowly focused, applied studies as well). Both readings and discussions can be in German or English, and texts will be chosen according to the interests and needs of the participants. In order to get a first assessment of who might be interested, as well as what kinds of topics participants are interested in, we would like to meet once in the remainder of the summer semester and discuss possibilities and plans for next semester. Our preliminary meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 13 at 2:15 pm in room 608 (6th floor Conti-Hochhaus). For more information, please contact Shane Denson (see the “About” page for contact info).

Expelled: Filmvorführung am 22. Juni

Am 22. Juni gibt es eine Filmvorführung im Rahmen des Seminars “Anti-Intellectualism in America” (von Dr. Kirsten Twelbeck). Weitere Teilnehmende sind herzlich willkommen — es können gerne Knabbersachen etc. mitgebracht werden.

Der Film ist interessant für all diejenigen, die sich für Dokumentarfilme und/oder die Debatte über “Intelligent Design” interessieren.

Film: ExpelledNo Intelligence Allowed
Director: Nathan Frankowski
With: Ben Stein
Rocky Mountain Pictures, 2008
1hr. 37 min

Ort: Königsworther Platz 1, Raum 615
Zeit: 18:00-20:00

Movie Info

Intrigued by the recent trend of scientists, journalists, philosophers, and teachers who have been ostracized and discredited for daring to suggest that humankind may be the product of intelligent design rather than a random fluke in the cosmic scheme of things, Ben Stein sets out on a journey to investigate the supposed persecution of the many by the select few. Stein asserts that in recent years, anyone who dares to question the idea that adaptation is responsible for the development of Earth’s organisms is held to ridicule, and over the course of the film, he travels the globe to speak with the supporters of both theories, pondering the reasons why believing in a higher power has seemingly become a massive taboo in the eyes of educators and the media. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi (on

“To be continued…”: Seriality and Serialization in Interdisciplinary Perspective

Now online:

Shane Denson, “‘To be continued…’: Seriality and Serialization in Interdisciplinary Perspective.” (Conference Proceedings of: “What Happens Next: The Mechanics of Serialization.” Graduate Conference at the University of Amsterdam, March 25–26, 2011.) In: JLTonline (17.06.2011).


PDF: here.

CFP: Literary Theory and Media Change (JLT)

Call for Articles: Journal of Literary Theory, Vol. 6, No. 2 (2012)

Literary Theory and Media Change

Submission Deadline: January 15th 2012


Literature is part of a media world that does not only change the physical aspects of reading by introducing e-books, audio books and other formats, but which links literature to the realms of movies, hypertexts, social media and other phenomena, where different hierarchies of aesthetic objects and their evaluation apply. How do these changes affect concepts and theories of literature?

Papers are welcome that systematically analyze the changing attitudes, terms and concepts of literary theory provoked by recent (or not so recent) shifts in (digital) media environments.

Possible topics could include, but are not limited to the discussion of changes in reading habits, possibilities opened up to research by digital corpora, aspects of media competition, convergence, and combination in relation to literature, aspects of the history of media or literature studies.

Contributions should not exceed 50,000 characters in length and have to be submitted until January 15th, 2012. Please submit your contribution electronically via our website under ‘Articles’.

Articles are chosen for publication by an international advisory board in a double-blind review process.

For further information about JLT and to view the submission guidelines, please visit or contact the editorial office at

Christina Riesenweber
Assistant Editor
JLT – Journal of Literary Theory
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Seminar für Deutsche Philologie
Kate-Hamburger-Weg 3
37073 Göttingen
0049 – (0)551 – 39 – 7534

CFP: Interpiktorialität – der Dialog der Bilder

Ruhr-Universität Bochum



»Tout texte se construit comme mosaïque des citations, tout texte est absorption et transformation d’un autre texte« – so formulierte Julia Kristeva den Grundgedanken einer Theorie der Intertextualität. Der Begriff der Interpiktorialität (andere Begriffswörter sind ›Interpikturalität‹, ›Interikonizität‹ und ›Interbildlichkeit‹) behauptet, dass es sich bei Bildern ähnlich verhält. Bezieht sich ein Bild nicht auch unweigerlich auf andere Bilder, erfolgt nicht jede Bezugnahme eines Bildes als interpiktoriale Referenz?

Doch trotz der grundlegenden Ähnlichkeit der Referenzialität von Texten und Bildern lässt sich im obigen Zitat nicht einfach ›Text‹ durch ›Bild‹ ersetzen, schon weil ›Zitat‹ ein textualistisches Konzept ist, das wesentlich auf der Idee beruht, dass eine Textstelle unter Absehung von ihrer Materialität gleichsam restlos wiedergegeben werden kann, indem ihre Buchstaben reproduziert werden (und nicht ihre Schriftart, ihr Satz, usw.).

Dass es aber keine einfache Übertragung intertextueller Termini auf interpiktoriale Verhältnisse geben sollte, bedeutet nicht, dass es keine Möglichkeit der Ordnung interpiktorialer Bezüge gibt. In dieser Hinsicht sind die Typologien der Intertextualitäsforschung, die Operationen der Installation, der Suggestion und der Absorption (citation, allusion, implicitation, etc. bei Tiphaine Samoyault) oder der ludischen, satirischen oder ernsten Transformation und Imitation (parodie, pastiche, burlesque, etc. bei Gérard Genette) unterscheiden, vorbildlich.

Solche Ordnungsversuche fehlen indes für Referenzen von Bildern auf Bilder, weshalb sich etwa Systematisierungen intermedialer Bezüge mangels Alternativen auf intertextuelle Modelle berufen. Die Bildwissenschaften scheinen unterdessen dem Beispiel der Kunstwissenschaft zu folgen, die sich, nach einem Diktum Gottfried Boehms, »nur selten auf die systematische Seite ihrer Aufgabe« besonnen hat, und erstellen ikonografische Reihen nach Maßgabe entweder rein thematischer oder vage bleibender ›Ähnlichkeiten‹ von Bildern.

Eine Systematisierung interpiktorialer Bezüge aus kunst- und medienwissenschaftlicher Sicht, die vorübergehend an der analytischen Fiktion reiner Bild-Bild-Bezüge festhält (während in der Praxis nur Verbünde von Texten und Bildern begegnen, was W.J.T. Mitchell in der Sentenz »all media are mixed media« festgehalten hat) könnte auch zu einer Klärung des Verhältnisses von Text und Bild beitragen, indem sie die Eigenlogik der Bilder anhand der Unzulänglichkeiten intertextueller Kategorien entwickelt (vgl. Norman Bryson, der statt ›Interpiktorialität‹ von ›Interpenetration‹ spricht).

Dabei stellen sich unter anderen folgende Fragen:

  • Welche formalen Eigenschaften begründen die Annahme eines interpiktorialen Bezugs?
  • Welche Typen von Bezugnahmen von Bildern auf Bilder gibt es?
  • Welche Besonderheiten weisen technische Bilder dabei auf?
  • Welchen Beitrag können interpiktoriale Kategorien zur Analyse intermedialer Bezüge leisten?

Erbeten werden kunst-, medien-, bild- oder literaturwissenschaftliche Beiträge zu interpiktorialen Bezügen zwischen ›äußeren‹ Bildern jeglicher Provenienz, vom Gemälde bis zum digitalen Video, die die Formen und Funktionen von Bild-Bild-Bezügen entweder aus systematischer Sicht – das heißt mit dem Ziel der Bestimmung eines Typs oder der Konstruktion einer Typologie – oder ›vergleichender‹ Perspektive – das heißt in Relation zu intertextuellen oder intermedialen Kategorien – analysieren.

Abstracts (200 Wörter) für Vorträge von 20 Minuten Länge bitte bis 15.07.2011 an:

Dr. Guido Isekenmeier
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Englisches Seminar
Institut für Kulturforschung Heidelberg
Projekt ›Beobachtung visueller Kultur‹

Upcoming Events

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