7 December 2010

(Trans)National Subjects

The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven is pleased to announce the International Confererence "(Trans)National Subjects. Framing Post-1989 Migration on the European Screen", to be held December 15-17, 2011, in Leuven, Belgium. The conference is a joint initiative of the Chair of Slavic Studies, the Centre for Media Culture and Communication Technology, the Institute of International and European Policy and the Associated Faculty of Architecture and the Arts. It is organized with the additional support of the Research Group on Cinema & Diaspora (University of Antwerp and Ghent University) and the Cultural Service of the Polish Embassy in Belgium.

Confirmed speakers include Dominique Arel (University of Ottawa), Dina Iordanova (University of St. Andrews) and Ewa Mazierska (University of Central Lancashire). More details can be found at the conference website <http://www.transnationalsubjects.eu/> http://www.transnationalsubjects.eu.

(Trans)National Subjects - Call for papers

The past three decades have seen the rise of a transnational European cinema, not only in terms of financing and multilateral co-productions, but also in terms of a growing focus on multi-ethnic themes and realities within the European context. Undoubtedly, the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the
subsequent (and on-going) enlargement of the European Union have played a major role in this shift from national to European filmmaking. Its most obvious on-screen manifestation is the increased visibility of immigrant groups from former communist countries in recent European film, ranging from Krzysztof Kieślowski's Blanc (1994) and Paweł Pawlikowski's Last Resort (2000) to Hans-Christian Schmid's Lichter (2003) and Ken Loach's It's a Free World (2007).

Through its focus on cinematic representations of post-1989 migrations from the former Eastern Bloc to Western Europe, this conference seeks to examine what these films reveal about the cultures producing and consuming these migration narratives and to what extent these images function as a construction site for new (trans)regional, (trans)national and European identities. In order to do so, we welcome papers that investigate topics and questions such as:

-the particular variety of portrayals of (Eastern) European identities and narratives of mobility, displacement and belonging in specific European cinemas or in European cinema at large;
-the emergence of a European "accented cinema" (as coined by Hamid Naficy, 2001) involving migrant and diasporic filmmakers from the former Eastern Bloc;
-the degree in which the portrayal of newcomers in the cinemas of the "hosting" countries corresponds with or diverges from the representation of migratory practices in diasporic filmmaking and in the respective domestic cinemas (i.e., the cinemas of the postcommunist countries);
-the involvement of diasporic filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe in redefining our understanding of European identity/ies as constructed and narrated in European national cinemas;
-the ways in which the complex narratives and often hybrid identities of the postcommunist immigrant characters intertwine with the ongoing geopolitical processes of intra-European border reorganization
(creating a new dividing line between those countries with European Union membership and those without);
-convergences and divergences between post-1989 cinematic portrayals of Central and East European immigrants on the one hand and Cold War representations of "exiles" from the Eastern Bloc on the other hand;
-the extent to which the narratives and identities portrayed in these films share filmic traits and narrative arguments that link them to or set them apart from European and/or diasporic cinema dealing with immigrants from outside Europe (e.g. Beur cinema, British-Asian cinema, etc.);
-the increased visibility of characters from former communist countries in relation to American filmmaking and its long-standing tradition of depicting immigrant characters of Slavic/East European
descent (in, for instance, gangster and historic film);
-the link between the filmic image of (mainly economy-driven) migration from former communist states on the one hand and a more general critique of post-1989 neoliberal capitalism and global economic
culture (commodification, consumerism, ...) on the other hand;
-the (trans)national dynamics that underlie the production, distribution and reception of these immigration narratives and images.

One page abstracts are to be sent to <mailto:info@transnationalsubjects.eu> info@transnationalsubjects.eu by March 15, 2011. Notifications of the Organizing Committee's decisions will be sent out by May 15, 2011. We strongly encourage the use of film clips and of modern presentation software, e.g. Powerpoint. The goal of this is to enhance the effectiveness of the presentation and to facilitate discussion afterwards. Laptops and beamers will be provided.

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