CFP: Governing Genealogies of Film Education

Contributions are sought for a scholarly collection, the purpose of which is to introduce readers to a nascent, critical historiographic approach to the formal study and deployment of cinema based upon extensive archival research into the declassified governing paper trail located in government, university, and philanthropic foundation archives in the United States and other imperial locations, and of traces left behind in postcolonial and neocolonial state institutions. We invite research that dovetails investigation of production culture and the cinematic public sphere with exposure and analysis of governmental policy and bureaucratic processes. The primary objective of the volume is to shed light on the institution and institutionalization of film and, more broadly, audiovisual education as an international academic discipline, as well as of media governance through the governmentality of university and state programming at bureaucratic and aesthetic levels with complex and lasting implications for global cultures and subject positions. The volume’s secondary objective is to assess and reflect in this genealogical context on the precarious state of film studies today as an academic discipline, and hence on the crisis facing an increasingly disposable labor force of film scholars and teachers who have come of professional age at the very moment at which the serious study of cinematic and disciplinary articulations of race, colonialism, and transnationalism has achieved a certain institutional acceptance and legitimacy. We especially invite work that unearths previously unvisited collections and offers original research and theorization.

The proposed volume is conceived at a moment during which disciplinary interest in the history of Cinema Studies and governing investment in film has led to the publication of several scholarly books. It will therefore resonate with a range of theoretical methodologies associated with the fields of cinema and cultural studies. Furthermore, scholarly attention to the role of governments and governing entities in shaping the direction of art education domestically and through diplomatic policy has had a longer and more prolific history that sheds light on the Cold War foundations of higher film education in the U.S. and the international arena and its domestic and international functioning as a “soft diplomacy.” We are therefore interested in excavating archival traces of film diplomacy’s creation of certain labor opportunities, academic programming practices, and the growth of film scholarship. While we hope to generate a more dynamic dialogue with this evolving group of scholarship, our volume intends to address this thematic in a methodologically innovative way within contemporary film and media studies, making substantive use of archival findings to address critical and theoretical claims regarding the genealogies of Cinema Studies both domestically and internationally.

A reputable university press has already shown strong interest in this collection.
Please submit proposals, including affiliation and curriculum vitae, by October 15, 2020, to both:

Hadi Gharabaghi (Drew University):
Terri Ginsberg (The American University in Cairo):


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