All call for papers has been issued for a one-day conference taking place at New York University on 2 April 2010. Although Literature and the Mass-Produced Image isn’t specifically about silent film, the conference themes are each reflected by film from the silent era. Here’s the conference blurb to explain more:
New York University’s English Department will host a graduate student conference exploring the fate of literature in the age of the reproducible image. The nineteenth-century emergence of photography, a medium which Walter Benjamin referred to as “the first truly revolutionary means of reproduction,” coupled with the subsequent development of the motion picture, irrevocably shook not only the art world, but also the literary. This conference aims to uncover the affinities, negotiations, and interrelations between literary texts and visual media like photography, cinema, and the more recent medium of digital imaging and video. Investigating these issues from the perspectives of both literary and visual culture, this one-day event aims to bring together new work being produced by graduate students studying literature, cinema studies, visual culture, the history of media, and social historiography.
We will be focusing on a number of related questions including (but not limited to): How has the development of visual media affected literary aesthetics? In what sense has the vocabulary of film and photography been appropriated from and by literary culture? How do motion and pacing – elements inherent to cinema – reveal themselves in creating and staging action, plot, and character development in literary narrative?
Other possible topics include:
- Photographic representation in literary texts
- Literature as motion: imagery and the mind’s eye, storytelling and motion
- Cinema, literature, fragmentation and non-linear chronology
- Descriptions of photographs within literary works
- The ‘urban’ and its centrality to cross-media works
- Modernist critique/appropriation of visual culture
- Art, the avant-garde, and experimental motion/stop-motion
- The function of written text in a visual medium
- Depictions of movies and movie-going in literary narrative
- Film vs. Literature: ‘high art’ in the era of mass culture
Please send abstracts (400 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org by FEBRUARY 1, 2010. Abstracts should include your name, contact information, paper title, and a short bio with your institution & department affiliation and year in graduate school. Please specify any audio-visual requirements. Panel proposals are also welcome for panels comprised of 3-4 participants; in your proposals, please include panel title and brief description (limit 500 words) as well as a list of papers with corresponding abstracts and speaker information.
Conference organizers: Yair Solan, Kathryn Bullerdick and Blevin Shelnutt.
This conference is sponsored by the New York University Department of English, with financial support provided by the NYU Graduate School of Arts and Science.
I think it is something to be proud of when one can combine academia with film fandom, and it’s worth noting that conference co-organiser Yair Solan is the person behind the estimable The World of Charley Chase website. Modern literature and silent comedy – now there’s a really healthy combination of life-skills.