2019 Annual Conference

Thursday–Saturday, February 21–23, 2019

The Carsey-Wolf Center’s 2019 conference will explore the uncanny twists and turns that are often occluded in larger narratives of Film and Media Studies. Specifically, we hope to examine the unexpected trajectories of foundational movements, thinkers, and practitioners, often taken for granted within our field. Talks will focus on individuals, texts, movements, theories, or policies to probe the seemingly familiar in an effort to discover uncanny narratives of unglamorous work, improvisational politics, and surprising legacies that yield unfamiliar insights. The talks will share a common interest in questions of disciplinarity, transdisciplinarity and intellectual historiography, and will offer dynamic new ways of approaching the study of film and media.

Uncanny Histories
February 21-23, 2019

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Pollock Theater, UCSB

7:00 PM  Film screening: Upstream (John Ford, 1927) with live musical accompaniment
This screening is free and open to the public, but a reservation is recommended in order to guarantee a seat. Seats have been reserved for conference speakers; others should reserve seats by visiting this page.

Friday, February 22, 2019
Wallis Annenberg Conference Room, 4315 Social Sciences and Media Studies Building

9:00 AM  Introduction and welcome: Patrice Petro

9:15 AM Panel 1: Foundations/Reckonings
Dudley Andrew, Yale University, “Writing the History of Ecriture: Bazin with Barthes”
Michael B. Gillespie, City College of New York, “Dead Reckoning: Film Blackness and Cinema in the Wake”
Moderated by Patrice Petro

10:30 AM break

10:45 AM Panel 2: Media Environments
Mona Damluji, UCSB, “Cinematic Pipelines & Pipeline Cinemas”
Janet Walker, UCSB, “Matter Out of Phase: Tracing the Spatial Uncanny”
Moderated by Aleah Kiley

12:00 PM  lunch for registered participants

1:00 PM Panel 3: Lessons from Cuba
Masha Salazkina, Concordia University, “Early Soviet Film (Theory) and the New Latin American Cinema: lessons from Cuba”
Cristina Venegas, UCSB, “Julio Garcia Espinosa and the Imperfect Imagination”
Moderated by Bianka Ballina

2:15 PM break

2:30 PM Panel 4: Improvisational Politics
Nicholas Baer, University of Chicago, “Sorry to Bother You, Marx”
Naoki Yamamoto, UCSB, “Film Theory at Its Protean Origin: Bergson, Pragmatism, and Gonda Yasunosuke”
Moderated by Tyler Morgenstern

3:45 PM break

4:00 PM Panel 5: Colonial Uncanny
Ross Melnick, UCSB, “Isidore Schlesinger, 20th Century-Fox, and the Uncanny History of American Intervention in South African (Film) Apartheid”
Jasmine Trice, UCLA, “Bodies, Hygiene, and Cinema in Colonial Manila’s Visual Culture”
Moderated by Charlotte Orzel

Saturday, February 23, 2019
Wallis Annenberg Conference Room, 4315 Social Sciences and Media Studies Building

9:00 AM Panel 6: Global/Local
Maria Corrigan, Emerson College, “Chaplin at the Border: Global Icons and National Cinemas”
Charles Wolfe, UCSB, “Neighborhood Lots and Vanishing Plots: The Keaton Studio as Historical Site”
Moderated by Bhaskar Sarkar

10:15 AM break

10:30 AM Panel 7: In the Archive/on the Screen
Naomi DeCelles, UCSB, “Learning to See Cinematically: Lotte Eisner’s Interwar Film Education”
Hannah Goodwin, Mount Holyoke College, “Flickering Lights and Mischievous Stars: Uncanny Entanglements in My Twentieth Century
Moderated by Sarah Lerner

12:00 PM  lunch for registered participants

1:00 PM Panel 8: Reframing Concepts
Anna Everett, UCSB, “Conjuring Whiteness: James Bond, Race, and the Transnational Imaginary”
Ellen Scott, UCLA, “Fiendish Devices: Almena Davis and the Black Watching Subject”
Moderated by Hannah Garibaldi

2:15 PM break

2:30 PM Panel 9: Media /Politics
Peter Bloom, UCSB, “Political Corruption in Malaysia and the Wall Street film genre: The 1MDB scandal and The Wolf of Wall Street
Laila Shereen Sakr, UCSB, “Reframing the ‘Arab Spring’”
Moderated by Miguel Penabella

3:45 PM break

4:00 PM Panel 10: Double Takes
Alenda Chang, UCSB, “Why Media Studies Has Always Been Game Studies”
Priya Jaikumar, USC, “Film Analysis in the Double Take of History”
Moderated by Patrice Petro

Conference participants:

Dudley Andrew is Professor of Film and Comparative Literature at Yale University. Biographer of André Bazin, he extends Bazin’s thought in What Cinema Is! (2011) and in the edited volume Opening Bazin (2012). Working in aesthetics and cultural history, he has written books on French cinema and is preparing Encountering World Cinema, featuring European, African, and especially East Asian cinemas. Andrew is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Nicholas Baer is Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago. He co-edited the award-winning The Promise of Cinema: German Film Theory, 1907–1933 (2016) and Unwatchable (2019). A regular columnist for Film Quarterly, Baer has published on film and media, critical theory, and intellectual history in numerous journals and edited volumes, and his writings have been translated into Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, and Italian.

Peter J. Bloom is Associate Professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. His recent work has focused on film and radio in late colonial Ghana and Malaya. He has published extensively on British, French, and Belgian colonial media including French Colonial Documentary (2007), Frenchness and the African Diaspora (co-editor, 2009), and Modernization as Spectacle in Africa (co-editor, 2014), among other publications. In addition, he has addressed the context for gestural movement in the “dancefilm” idiom and contemporary speculative economies of African art and performance.

Alenda Chang is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Her research and teaching range widely across film, digital media, science and technology studies, and sound studies, with particular interests in environmental media and game studies. Her forthcoming book Playing Nature: The Ecology of Video Games (University of Minnesota Press) proposes new methods and objects for ecologically informed critique and design.

Maria Corrigan is Assistant Professor of Media and Comedy at Emerson College. She received her Ph.D. in Film and Media Studies from UC Santa Barbara in 2015 and her M.A. from Emory University (2008). Her current book project, The Factory of the Eccentric Actor: Soviet Cinema’s Can-Can on the Tightrope of Logic, explores the comedic roots of Soviet Cinema. Her work has been published in Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema and Television and New Media.

Mona Damluji is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Her interdisciplinary research and creative works engage underrepresented media histories—from comic books to industrial oil films—and infrastructures in the Middle East. Her book-in-progress is a history of corporate experimentation with sponsored film, photography, art, and town planning that aimed to normalize and globalize the now common assumption that modern life depends on oil. She is an Emmy and Peabody Award-nominated producer of the short documentary series The Secret Life of Muslims and a co-curator of Arab Comics: 90 Years of Popular Visual Culture and Multitudes: An Art Exhibit after #muslimban.

Naomi DeCelles is currently completing her dissertation “(Re)collecting Lotte Eisner: Curation, Displacement, and Memory” at UC Santa Barbara. In it, DeCelles offers the first in-depth study of the remarkable transnational career of journalist, archivist, and historian Lotte Eisner, framing Eisner’s contributions to the discourse on cinema as an object of art historical inquiry within the context of the emergence and consolidation of academic Film Studies during the mid-twentieth century. Her areas of interest include cultural history, feminist historiography, and archive studies.

Anna Everett is Professor of Film, Television, and New Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. She has served as Acting Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Academic Policy, Chair of the Department of Film and Media Studies, and Director of the Center for Black Studies. Everett is a two-time recipient of the Fulbright Senior Scholar Award (2005, 2007), among other honors and awards. Her publications include the books Returning the Gaze: A Genealogy of Black Film Criticism, 1909-1949 (2001), Learning Race and Ethnicity: Youth and Digital Media (for the MacArthur Foundation’s series on Digital Media, Youth, and Learning, 2008), New Media: Theories and Practices of Digitextuality (2003), AfroGeeks: Beyond the Digital Divide (2007), Digital Diaspora: A Race for Cyberspace (2009), and Pretty People: Movie Stars of the 1990s (2012).

Michael B. Gillespie is Associate Professor of Film at The City College of New York, CUNY. His research focuses on film theory, black visual and expressive culture, popular music, and contemporary art. He is the author of Film Blackness: American Cinema and the Idea of Black Film (2016). He is the co-editor of “Dimensions in Black: Perspectives on Black Film and Media,” a special dossier for Film Quarterly (Winter 2017); and “Black One Shot” (http://asapjournal.com/tag/black-one-shot/), an art criticism series devoted to black visual and expressive culture on ASAP/J (Summer 2018). His work has appeared in Film Quarterly, Black Camera, Post-Soul Satire: Black Identity after Civil Rights, Contemporary Black American Cinema, and Passing Interest: Racial Passing in U.S. Fiction, Memoirs, Television, and Film. He is currently working on two projects: black death and sonic visuality.

Hannah Goodwin received her PhD from UC Santa Barbara in 2017 and is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at Mount Holyoke College. She has published work in the volume Contemporary Visual Culture and the Sublime (2017) and Media Fields, and has forthcoming articles in Epistemic Screens, Journal of Film and Video, and El cine documental de Patricio Guzmán (Peter Lang). She is currently working on a manuscript that traces the intersecting histories of cinema and cosmology.

Priya Jaikumar is Associate Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Her research focuses on colonial and postcolonial cinemas, comparative modernities and aesthetics, film policy, state power, theories of history and cultural geography. She is the author of Cinema at the End of Empire (2006) and her book Where Histories Reside: India as Filmed Spaceis forthcoming in 2019.

Ross Melnick specializes in media industry history and analysis, U.S. and global film exhibition, film, radio, and television history, archival theory and practice, silent cinema, early radio and media convergence, and moving image journalism. His first book is American Showman: Samuel ‘Roxy’ Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry, 19081935 (2012). He was named an Academy Film Scholar in 2017 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 2015–2016, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University in 2010–2011. Melnick is currently finishing his second book, Screening the World: Hollywood’s Global Exhibition Empires.

Laila Shereen Sakr is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies and Faculty Affiliate in the Feminist Studies Department at UC Santa Barbara. She co-founded Wireframe, a digital media studio that supports critical game design, data visualization, VR/augmented realities, digital arts, and activism. She is known for creating the R-Shief software system and performing as VJ Um Amel, and has shown solo and group exhibitions and performances at galleries and museums including the San Francisco MoMA, National Gallery of Art in Jordan, Camera Austria, Cultural Digital in Brazil, DC Fridge Art Gallery, 100 Copies in Egypt, and other venues. She is co-editor of the open access journal Media Theory, and also of After Video published by Open Humanities Press.

Masha Salazkina is Concordia University Research Chair in Transnational Media Arts and Cultures (Montreal, Canada). She is the author of In Excess: Sergei Eisenstein’s Mexico (2009) and co-editor of Sound, Speech, Music in Soviet and Post-Soviet Cinema (2014) and Global Perspectives on Amateur Film History and Culture (forthcoming, 2019). Her current book project traces a trajectory of the development of materialist film theory through the discourses of early Soviet cinema, to institutional film cultures of the 1930s-1950s in Italy, and critical debates surrounding the emergence of New Latin American Cinemas. She is also developing a collaborative research project investigating a history of international festivals of Asian, African, and Latin American cinemas in the 1960s-70s.

Ellen Scott is Associate Professor and Vice Chair of Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA in the Department of Film, Television and Digital Media. Her research focuses on the meanings and reverberations of film in African-American communities. Her first book, Cinema Civil Rights (2015), exposed the Classical Hollywood-era studio system’s repression of civil rights but also the stuttered appearance of these issues through latent, symptomatic signifiers. She recently guest edited a special issue of Black Camera entitled “Black Images Matter: Contextualizing Images of Racialized Police Violence” and is working on two book projects: Cinema’s Peculiar Institution, which examines the history of slavery on the American screen and Bitter Ironies, Tender Hopes, which explores Classical Hollywood-era’s Black women film critics.

Jasmine Nadua Trice is Assistant Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the Department of Film, Television, and Digital Media at UCLA. Focusing on cultures of exhibition and moviegoing, her research interests include Philippine, Southeast Asian, and diasporic film cultures. Her book manuscript, Speculative Publics: Cinema Circulation and Alternative Film Culture in Manila, is under contract with Duke University Press.

Cristina Venegas is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on international media with an emphasis on Latin America, Spanish-language film and television in the U.S., and digital technologies. Her book Digital Dilemmas (2010) deals with digital media in Cuba and she has also written about film and political culture, revolutionary imagination in the Americas, telenovelas, contemporary Latin American cinema, and co-productions. She has curated numerous film programs on Latin American and Indigenous film in the U.S. and Canada, and she is Co-founder and Artistic Director (since 2004) of the Latino CineMedia International Film Festival in Santa Barbara.

Janet Walker is Professor of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara, where she teaches and conducts research in the areas of documentary film; feminism, trauma, and memory studies; and media and environment. Her books include Trauma Cinema: Documenting Incest and the Holocaust (2005), Documentary Testimonies: Global Archives of Suffering (with Bhaskar Sarkar, 2010) and, most recently, Sustainable Media: Critical Approaches to Media and Environment (with Nicole Starosielski, 2016). She is co-recipient of a 2017-2019 Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar award for a project entitled “Energy Justice in Global Perspective” and co-editor of the UC Press-Carsey Wolf Center journal Media+Environment.  She is currently writing a book on media mapping and critical environmental justice.

Charles Wolfe is Professor of Film and Media Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of two books on the films of director Frank Capra and has published widely on various aspects of the history of commercial, independent, and documentary filmmaking in the U.S. With Edward Branigan, he co-edits the American Film Institute’s Film Reader Series, which to date has published 30 volumes of new critical essays on topics of contemporary concern in film, television, and new media studies. A member of the Board of Directors of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies from 2006 to 2009, Wolfe chaired the Department of Film and Media Studies from 1994 to 1998, and served as Associate Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts in the College of Letters and Science at UCSB from 2003 to 2008.

Naoki Yamamoto is Assistant Professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. His research seeks to reimagine the geopolitics of knowledge production and consumption in the twentieth century, with Japan and film theory being his areas of specialty. He is now completing two books: Dialectics without Synthesis: Japanese Film Theory and Realism in a Global Frame, and Tenkeiki no mediologii (Mediology in Japan’s Transformative Period), co-edited with Toba Kōji.


Conference moderators:

Bianka Ballina is a PhD candidate in Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Her dissertation, entitled “Vital Exports: Mediating Cuban Solidarity and Global South Imaginaries in the Post-Socialist Era,” explores media’s role in the discourses and practices of Cuban internationalism and South-South solidarity since the Cold War. Bianka’s research interests include media globalization and its effects on the Global South, Latin American and Latinx media cultures, migrant and transborder media, and gender studies. Her work has been published in Studies in Spanish and Latin American Cinemas, Spectator, and the forthcoming Media in the Americas collection at Rutgers University Press. She is the Coordinating Editor of Media Fields Journal and co-edited the journal’s twelfth issue on “Media and Migration” (2017).

Hannah Garibaldi is a PhD student in the Film and Media Studies Department at UC Santa Barbara. She received her Master’s degree in Film Studies from Chapman University with her thesis “Chromatically Subverting the Production Code: Hollywood’s Colorful Weapon in the 1940s.” Her research interests include the intersection of Hollywood censorship practices with color filmmaking in the 1930s-1950s, the integration of Attachment Theory with current models of cinematic engagement, and historic representations of physical illness and disability within Hollywood film production.

Aleah Kiley is a PhD student in the Film and Media Studies Department at UC Santa Barbara. Her work traces the politics of difference, identity, and power through media industries and cultural institutions. She has recently published “Starlets, Subscribers, and Beneficiaries: Disney, Latino Children, and Television Labor” in the International Journal of Communication (co-authored with Christopher Chavez) and is a contributor to Jessica Jones, Scarred Superhero: Essays on Gender, Trauma, and Addiction in the Netflix Series. She is currently focused on examining processes of intermediation through the vectors of race, gender, and sexuality in the indie games movement.

Sarah Lerner is a PhD candidate in the Department of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Her research interests include sound studies, women in the law, performance studies, and archives. Her developing dissertation explores women in the judiciary and their mediation across media formats since 1970, bridging feminist legal history, popular culture, and media studies. She is co-editor of Media Fields Journal “Mediating the Anthropocene” (2018) and her work has recently appeared in Transformative Works and Cultures (“The Future of Fandom,” 2018).

Tyler Morgenstern is a PhD candidate in the Department of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara and a Doctoral Fellow of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Currently completing a dissertation that examines the imbrication of cybernetic thought with the cultural politics of colonial settlement in post- and Cold War North America, Tyler is also co-editor of the anthology Moving Images: Mediating Migration in Europe (under contract with Transcript Verlag), and co-editor of “Media Cultures of the Imperial Pacific,” a forthcoming issue of Media Fields Journal. He is a member of the Media Fields editorial collective at UCSB and holds a MA in Media Studies from Concordia University in Montreal.

Charlotte Orzel is a first-year doctoral student in Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara and holds an MA in Media Studies from Concordia University. She recently completed her Master’s thesis, a study of emerging exhibition practices at Canada’s monopoly exhibitor, Cineplex, and is currently developing a dissertation on the recent history of the exhibition industry in the United States and Canada.

Miguel Penabella is an MA/PhD student in Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara. His research examines cinematic temporality with regards to national identity, memory, spectatorship, and historical revisionism. He is also interested in theorizations of slowness in film, slow violence, and the relationship of politics and style in global art cinema with a focus on Philippine filmmakers. He serves as a member of the Media Fields editorial collective.

Bhaskar Sarkar is Associate Professor and Chair of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara and affiliate faculty in Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages and Cultures, and History of Art and Architecture. His research interests include global media, Indian cinema, emergent media, piracy, and risk and media. He is the author of Mourning the Nation: Indian Cinema in the Wake of Partition (2009), and he has co-edited the collections Documentary Testimonies: Global Archives of Suffering (2009), and Asian Video Cultures: In the Penumbra of the Global (2017), as well as two journal special issues in Postcolonial Studies and BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies. He is currently working on a monograph titled Cosmoplastics: Bollywood’s Global Gesture and a coedited collection of essays on the mediality of risk for the Routledge Handbook series. His future projects include a monograph about piratical practices in the Global South, and another on queer underground club cultures in millennial Los Angeles. He serves on the advisory boards of the journals Cinéma&Cie, Media Theory, and Media Fields.


Conference organizer: 

Patrice Petro is Professor of Film and Media Studies and Dick Wolf Director of the Carsey-Wolf Center and Presidential Chair in Media Studies. She is the author, editor, and co-editor of twelve books, including The Routledge Companion to Cinema and Gender (with Kristin Hole, Dijana Jelaca, and E. Ann Kaplan). She served two consecutive terms as President of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS), the U.S.’s leading professional organization of college and university educators, filmmakers, historians, critics, scholars, and others devoted to the study of the moving image.

The Conference is open to the public. Please register by Friday, February 15 to let us know you’re coming.

All panels will be held in the Wallis Annenberg Conference Room, 4315 Social Sciences and Media Studies Building.

Uncanny Histories is sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center and the Department of Film and Media Studies.