Early Cinema in the Balkans and the Near East: Beginnings to Interwar Period

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

manakis_brothers

Early Cinema in the Balkans and the Near East: Beginnings to Interwar Period
Athens, Greece: 5-7 June, 2015

Hellenic Open University

Hyperion University Bucharest and Istanbul Şehir University

Altcine and Filmicon: Journal of Greek Film Studies

CALL FOR PAPERS

This conference aims to broaden the geo-cultural scope of early film studies by providing a forum for scholarship on early and silent cinema in the Balkans and the Near East. These geopolitical designations are to be taken heuristically, as temporary placeholders for conceptual mappings that remain to be developed and that this conference seeks to encourage.
A key common denominator between these otherwise diverse areas in (film) historical terms is that the arrival of the moving pictures finds them in varying stages of transition away from the Ottoman imperial system. The post-Ottoman transition was characterized by intermediate geopolitical formations that no longer exist, though they remain controversial, and by a high degree of overlap between imperial, national, and colonial jurisdictions.
These are critical issues that contribute to the under-representation of the Balkans and the Near East in early film studies. It is broadly known that the Balkans and the Near East feature prominently in early Western cinema’s orientalist imaginary and have stocked Western film companies’ catalogues with filmed “views.” Scholarship on these issues is still scarce, however, and these areas, as producers and consumers of early cinema, are virtually non-existent in film studies. Understanding the impediments to scholarship and mapping out focus areas for investigation can make for exciting and paradigm-changing scholarship.
With this potential in mind, the conference committee welcomes presentation proposals from university-, museum- and archive-affiliated scholars, as well as from independent researchers. In addition to showcasing developments in research, the conference should be an inviting environment for building collegial ties with a view to future archival, historical, and theoretical work. The broader objective is for this event to become the first step towards a transnational community of scholars working on early and silent cinema in and about the Balkans and the Near East across new media and multiple platforms.
A selection of the conference papers will be published in an edited Special Issue of Filmicon: Journal of Greek Film Studies.

Sample Topics

Periodization: pre-history; introduction of sound; the meaning of “earliness” in the geocultural space in question; etc.
Production: the meaning of domestic (local, regional, indigenous, etc.) and national; genres; personnel; organizations; economics; etc.
Exhibition practices and contexts: intertitles and commentators; open-air venues and fairgrounds; travelling cinematographers-projectionists; urban venues; distribution; etc.
Regulation: censorship; film trade agreements; diplomacy; quota systems; litigation; professional associations; etc.
Imports: networks; markets; economics; etc.
Specialized press and other cinema-related writing: star and fan discourses; reviewing; advertizing and marketing; audience research; etc.
Reception: spectatorship (gender, class, ethnicity, etc.); translation and appropriation; cultural politics; etc.
Intermediality: film and oral or print cultures; film and photography, film and theater, film and music; film and shadow-play (shadow-puppet theater), film and mass commercial print genres; film and non-Western pictorial or other systems of (re)presentation; etc.
Comparative approaches: comparative film histories; comparative aesthetics; metropolitan vs. peripheral early cinema; trans-national, sub-national, trans-local approaches; etc.
Film and history: film and war; film and national histories; film and colonialism; film between empires; film and society; propaganda and ideology; fiction and event; etc.
Theory: film and the nation(al); geopoetics and national poetics; post-Ottoman and post-colonial transitions; “mimicry;” coloniality; genre theory; gender; orientalism; alternative theorizations; etc.
Archives and other institutions of cultural heritage: public education; access; preservation; etc.
The conference will be conducted in the English language.
Keynote speakers
Prof. Dina Iordanova (University of St Andrews, UK)
Prof. Cemal Kafadar (Harvard University, USA)
Prof. Hamid Naficy (Northwestern University, USA)
Proposal submission deadline: October 31, 2014
Proposal length: 300 words + short BIO
Registration: 30€ (university faculty)—15€ (students and unaffiliated researchers). Free and open to the public.
Contact & Submissions
earlybalkansfilms@gmail.com
Conference Committee:
Emmanuel Arkolakis
Canan Balan
Maria Chalkou
Vassiliki Tsitsopoulou
Marian Tutui

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