Author Archives: tlepro

Exploring Broadcast Literature: Television in the 21st Century

deadline for submissions:
July 8, 2018
full name / name of organization:
Sydney Literature and Cinema Network
contact email:

A Day Workshop

UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY

Friday 28 September, 2018

In the media ecology of the new century, one of the ongoing success stories has been the rise and rise of scripted television – as a serious medium for ideas and debate, and as a space for developing new formal and generic schemas. Derided in the postwar decades for its formulaic and hidebound stories, and for being subject to constraints by censors and advertisers alike, television is now regularly raised above both film and theatre as the dramatic art form par excellence. The reasons for this gradual, yet none the less surprising, turnaround are numerous and well documented: the mushrooming of cable companies and subscription services; the widespread availability of file-sharing platforms; the popularity of the DVD boxed set (in the 2000s) and of streaming services (in the 2010s); the decision of content providers to become content producers (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime); and the increasing affordability of flatscreen TV sets and digital projectors.

As well as the economic logic underpinning the cable TV ascendancy, there are sound creative reasons for why producers, writers and directors might seek the freedom of long- form serial drama and comedy, rather than the self-contained, episodic model that still characterises network television. This freedom has been especially gratifying for the screenwriter. Often treated as expendable, or at least as subordinate, by the major film studios, in the cable TV context the writer now assumes the mantle of auteur (elevated to the creative-managerial position of ‘showrunner’), whilst the director is treated as a replaceable and near-anonymous gun-for-hire. This shifting of priorities has resulted in a more ‘literary’ and challenging medium. With its distinctively idiomatic dialogue, finely calibrated plot intricacies, and layering of story- and character-arcs, sometimes across several seasons, serial television has come to resemble nothing so much as the multi- volume novel.

The proposed workshop seeks to reflect further on these changes undergone by the medium, with a close examination of the millennial wave of TV shows (c. 1997 – present) that have contributed to the new environment. If ‘TV is the new novel’, as is often claimed, how do any of these shows underwrite, advance or contest the notion of ‘broadcast literature’ described above? Has the incursion of ‘literary values’, real or perceived, into what was once considered to be a sub-literate medium been an unequivocal good? Alternately, has ‘broadcast literature’ affected the ways that traditional (print) literature is written, interpreted, consumed?

If you are interested in exploring the literary attributes or implications of creator-driven television and would like to contribute to the workshop – with either a 15-20 min paper, or some clips framed by topics for discussion – please send an expression of interest by 8 July: 3-4 sentences outlining what you would like to speak on, and a brief bionote, to:

broadcastlit@gmail.com

Enquiries can also be sent to this address.

Attendees will be asked to register in advance, but there is no registration fee. Catering (lunch) will be provided.

Organisers: A/Prof Paul Sheehan (Macquarie University) / Blythe Worthy (University of Sydney)

June 2018

“The Colored Angle”: Contending Visions of Imitation of Life

by Alice Mikal Craven

in Visible and Invisible Whiteness : Amevisible and invisible whiteness.jpgrican White Supremacy Through the Cinematic Lens

A comparative analysis of the 1934 John M. Stahl film Imitation of Life and émigré director Douglas Sirk’s 1959 version allows for a more precise definition of how visible and invisible whiteness can be defined and represented in the cinema. The chapter argues that by looking at Stahl’s decisions concerning the generic structures he uses throughout the film, the visibility of whiteness that dominates in the first half of the film is rendered invisible by changing the guiding genre of the film from melodrama to romantic comedy halfway through the film. The chapter equally argues that Sirk’s focus on “the colored angle” allows for a different perspective on cinematic representations of white supremacy.

August 2018

Melodrama, Self and Nation in Post-War British Popular Film

By Johanna Laitila

This book investigates the portrayal of nationalities and sexualities in British post-Second World War crime film and melodrama. By melodrama popular filmfocusing on these genres, and looking at the concept of melodrama as an analytical tool apt for the analysis of both sexuality and nation, the book offers insight into the desires, fears, and anxieties of post-war culture. The problem of returning to ‘normalcy’ after the war is one of the recurring themes discussed; alienation from society, family, and the self were central issues for both women and men in the post-war years, and the book examines the anxieties surrounding these social changes in the films of the period. In particular, it explores heterosexuality and nationality as some of the most prominent frameworks for the construction of identities in our time, structures that, for all their centrality, are made invisible in our culture.

May 2018

Dreadful: Aesthetic Fear in Victorian Reading
by Pamela K. Gilbert

in Fear in the Medical and Literary Imagination, Medieval to Modern ed. by Daniel McCann and Claire McKechnie-Mason

Abstract

The late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw the rise of both the novel and physiological psychology, in which thinkers interested in affect often turned to literature to understand the functions of fictional emotion. One problem that has dogged aesthetic and psychological theorists since at least Aristotle is the aesthetic appreciation of negative affects. Why do we read tragedy, melodrama, and horror fiction, which evoke fear and sadness? How do we enjoy them? This essay will survey the history of the debate on the psychology and physiology of fear, including associationism, common sense and evolutionary theories. It will then discuss the period’s fiction, focusing especially on the affect of reading in the genres of gothic and sensation.


Elective Affinities: The Spectacle of Melodrama and Sensationalism in Cinco esquinas by Mario Vargas Llosa

by Jorge Carlos Guerrero

in Postmodern Parody in Latin American Literature ed. by Helene Carol Weldt-Basson

Abstract:

Guerrero argues that Mario Vargas Llosa’s Cinco esquinas [Five Points] is an ironic and self-reflexive parody of yellow journalism that advances a harsh indictment of both yellow journalism’s political uses by Alberto Fujimori’s regime in Peru, as well as its place in contemporary democratic culture. Based on the premise that the aesthetics of melodrama is intrinsic to sensationalism, the chapter examines the ways in which the novel imitates the excesses of sensationalist journalism through an ample repository of melodramatic techniques. Guerrero further contends that, through the playful engagement with other intertexts—notably Peruvian criollo music—Cinco esquinas is self-derisory about its skeptical perspective on culture and politics, thus undermining, in a postmodern fashion, the discourse of a narrator whose views mirror those of the author.

Renaissance Literature and Modern Sociopolitical Applications: Leadership, Power, and Literary Legacies

deadline for submissions:
May 15, 2018
full name / name of organization:
California State University, Stanislaus
contact email:

Editors Tony Perrello and C. Anne Engert welcome proposals for individual and co-authored chapters for a volume entitled Renaissance Literature and Modern Sociopolitical Applications: Leadership, Power, and Literary Legacies. We are in the process of assembling a collection of essays that explores the current American crises of leadership through the dramatic literature of the English Renaissance or vice versa. We believe that many of our colleagues are already talking about the intersection between these two topics, and we envision this edited volume as an opportunity to further such exploration in a scholarly venue. Palgrave MacMillan has shown interest in the project, which we aim to complete by March of 2019.

Crises of leadership fill the news today, on multiple levels. This edited volume of essays will present discussions that offer analyses of Renaissance texts and how they may display relevance to modern sociopolitical conditions. We are challenged to understand, and sometimes resist, increasingly toxic structures of leadership and power in our midst. Such understanding may emerge from insights found in the rich literary legacy of political crises and the deeply flawed leadership behind them. Such resistance may accumulate along lines of gender and sexuality, racial and social identities, or alliances among unlikely companions. From both these lines of inquiry come questions that may involve a multi-disciplinary approach. The following are some suggested topics (others under the same general theme are welcome):

 

  • Trickle-down coarseness, vulgarity, anxieties, fears?
  • Gaslighting as a leadership strategy
  • The collapse of truth and/or dealing with life in a post-truth society
  • The denial of death as a response to imperiled empire
  • Tribalism and its effects in a complex society
  • The responsibilities, complications, and anxieties of enabling incompetence
  • The perils of friends, enemies, and frenemies as political bedfellows
  • Betrayals, denied and admitted
  • Spectacle, melodrama, and distraction as leadership style
  • Dealing with a leader’s Dark Triad personality (Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy)
  • The pleasures and dangers of taunting from a bully pulpit
  • Dealing with the devil and getting exactly what you thought you wanted
  • When governance becomes a reality show
  • Mourning, nostalgia, and fear as the operators of crisis
  • Anti-intellectualism and idiocracy
  • Do we get the leadership we deserve?
  • The normalization of the scandalous and cognitive dissonance among traditionalists
  • Political speech in the absence of meaning
  • Feeding the base, shaping and shifting the narrative
  • A foil, a foil, my kingdom for someone to counterpunch
  • Conjuring demons and hunting witches
  • Dangerous liaisons and hidden agendas
  • We know he’s flawed, but he’s God’s tool
  • Throw open wide the Overton window
  • The voices of the people during times of crisis in leadership

Proposals of 500 words should be sent to Tony Perrello at tperrello@csustan.edu by 15 May, 2018. Please include a provisional title and a brief CV. Full-length papers will be solicited from these proposals, with final chapters (expected length: 6000 words) due by the end of February, 2019.

 Timeline

CFP deadline: 15 May, 2018

Decisions communicated by: 15 June, 2018

Drafts of essays due: 17 December, 2018

Completed essays due: 18 February, 2019

Manuscript submitted: March, 2019

ReFocus: The Films of João Pedro Rodrigues & João Rui Guerra da Mata

deadline for submissions:
June 15, 2018
full name / name of organization:
José Duarte/Filipa Rosário – School of Arts and Humanities

ReFocus: The Films of João Pedro Rodrigues & João Rui Guerra da Mata

With a career that spans over twenty years, João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata are one of the most creative duos in contemporary filmmaking working within the context of Portuguese cinema. Acknowledged by several film festivals (Cannes, Indie Lisboa, Locarno, New York) as major Portuguese directors, and by the Harvard Film Archive as creators whose works “reflect the multifarious history of film, from classic genres to experimental film”, both filmmakers have contributed to the growing interest in Portuguese cinema.

 

Their works, either individually or collaborative, tell us particular stories of love and human desire, mythologizing places, environments and characters. Rodrigues and Guerra da Mata’s cinema challenge the audience by placing the viewers in hybrid territories where the auteurs explore their own obsessions: from the urban streets of Lisbon (O Fantasma/The Phantom, 2000), to the dark alleys of Macao (A Última Vez Que Vi Macau/The Last Time I Saw Macao, 2012), and to the “natural” world of O Ornitólogo/The Ornithologist (2016).

 

Together, or individually, they have been delving into different portraits that defy general cinematic conventions and focus on the constant reinvention of cinema and identity. In this sense, the authors’ own journey in cinema is also a journey on the many possibilities of the different identities and cultures that an artist (and a nation) can encompass and inhabit.

 

Within this context, we are accepting submissions on any aspect of these directors’ oeuvre – from comprehensive approaches (influences, themes, style) to more diverse essays –, but we are especially looking for chapters on the following:

 

–          João Pedro Rodrigues & João Rui Guerra da Mata as auteurs;

–          Melodrama;

–          Identity;

–          Displacements;

–          The local and the global;

–          Marginal cinema;

–          Transnational cinema;

–          Oriental cycle (Multiculturalism, Identity);

–          Queer Cinema;

–          Gender/Genre;

–          Contemporary art cinema;

–          Mise-en-scène and/or dispositifs;

–          Soundscapes;

–          Digital filmmaking;

–          Artworks and Installations;

–          Autobiography/Memory;

–          Docufiction;

–          Expanded cinema;

–          Slow cinema;

 

 

The Films of João Pedro Rodrigues & João Rui Guerra da Mata will be one of the scholarly editions to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press in the ReFocus series on international directors. Series editors are Robert Singer, PhD and Gary D. Rhodes, PhD.

 

Please send your 250-750 word proposal and CV to thefilmsofportuguesecinema@gmail.com by June 15, 2018. We welcome initial email enquiries to discuss possible proposals.

 

Final submissions will be approximately 6000 to 8000 words, in English, referenced in Chicago endnote style, and submitted by November 1, 2018.

 

Any questions can be sent to

José Duarte & Filipa Rosário

(School of Arts & Humanities, University of Lisbon)