The organizing principle of this conference is to explore questions of “deep time” in Film and Media Studies. Understood as a metaphor signaling the time spans over which geological, evolutionary, and cosmic phenomena unfold, deep time has become an enticing concept for thinkers addressing the precarious entanglement of modern institutions with planetary systems. Invoking radically long-term perspectives makes sense in a time of climate change, mass extinction, and the “Anthropocene.”

The conference will examine how various media/works (including films, video games, art installations, interactive digital timelines, as well as “precinematic” materials like fossil collections, scientific diagrams, stratigraphic cuts) represent great swaths of time or imperceptibly gradual processes, stage affective encounters between human sensibilia and inhuman timescales, or exemplify how such timescales warp and denature traditional conceptions of narrative, agency, proportion, and eventfulness. It will explore how deep time reframes theoretical and methodological issues for Film and Media Studies, both in the field’s potential affiliations with the environmental and natural sciences, and in the ways deep time might disrupt conventional geographic and periodizing paradigms for understanding media history. Participants will address topics such as scale-shifting, the epistemic work of scientific visualization and instrumentation, and the buried histories of race and violence in constituting (non)human temporalities, as well as the ways in which the very concepts of “media” and “mediation” can be rethought via the objects and forms that throw us into relation with deep time.

Conference organizers:
Stephan Boman, Hannah Goodwin, Patrice Petro, and Charles Wolfe

Conference participants:
Weihong Bao, Film and Media, East Asian Languages and Cultures, UC Berkeley

Brooke Belisle, Art History, Stony Brook University

James Leo Cahill, Cinema Studies and French, University of Toronto

Jimena Canales, American Council of Learned Societies

Claire Colebrook, English, Penn State University

Nathan Cox, Film and Media Studies, UC Santa Barbara

Scott Curtis, Communication, Northwestern University

Naomi DeCelles, Film and Media Arts, University of Tampa

Jennifer Fay, English, German, Russian, and Eastern European Studies, Vanderbilt University

Bishnupriya Ghosh, English and Global Studies, UC Santa Barbara

Selmin Kara, Film and New Media Studies, OCAD

Marisa Parham, English and Digital Studies, University of Maryland – College Park

Charles M. Tung, English, Seattle University

Christina Vagt, Germanic and Slavic Studies, UC Santa Barbara

Colin Williamson, Cinema Studies, University of Oregon

Past annual conferences:

Each year, the Carsey-Wolf Center hosts an invitational conference on a theme related to the study of film and media.