Conference Topic: Care
Oslo, The University of Oslo, Blindern Campus
Deadline for submission: January 31, 2023
Conference dates: 13-17 June, 2023
The recently published Care Manifesto (2020) defines care as “…our individual and common ability to provide the political, social, material, and emotional conditions that allow the vast majority of people and living creatures on this planet to thrive – along with the planet itself.” Casting a wide net of universal ambitions, care is used here to refer to not only the care given and received within families, or in professional child, elderly and medical care, or the care administered in schools and education. Rather, care is meaningfully extended to privacy, culture, the economy, and, not least, the environment. While screen media does not figure prominently in this definition, it nevertheless plays an important role, not so much by it being in the picture but by providing the frame. From ecomedia to telephilia and from cinematic ethics to surveillance, notions of care underpin many key debates in cinema and media studies. Whether it be caring for people, animals, or the environment—or caring for objects and legacies, we ask: what does “care” allow us to protect and/or preserve? And, conversely, what can be committed, permitted, or excused in the name of care?
Media is crucial in shaping the ways in which care is experienced, practised and understood in today’s societies. When the authors of the manifesto locate the urgency in redressing care in what they call the current “reign of carelessness”, few of us will be hard-pressed for examples in which this reign is articulated in a heavily mediated form. To offer one such instance, when private health insurances now offer ‘customised’ care, which promise ‘tailormade’ policies fitting ‘individual needs’ this supposed responsiveness to personal needs also suggests the abolishment of the principle of the provision of care for all. And yet, examples to the contrary also abound. As the increased focus on sustainability, inclusivity, empathy, and ethics in cinema and media studies indicates, we also live in an age of widespread politico-cultural pushes for care in the face of adversity.
Seldom has there been more talk about care than at our current historical juncture. The self-explanatory notion of care as commodity is now widespread in media discourses, where rhetorical figures compete with more progressive, social-democratic notions of care, as for example that of a “New Green Deal”. Despite this omnipresence, such discourses cover only a part of media’s contribution to and participation in this embattled field. Whereas advertising as a ‘careful besiegement’ has long contributed to one’s entitlement to being cared for and to seeking out care products, media themselves have increasingly been seen to take on the role of carers—whether in the form of corporate digital media platforms or as the “ethical turn” in film theory suggests, through their aesthetic capacity to elicit other-oriented, cultural-political reflection. Moreover, as numerous social justice movements mobilised by digital platforms have demonstrated, there is an urgent need to interrogate for whom exactly our media industries care.
Evidently, the meaning of care does not exhaust itself in the notion of provision. Rather, care falls squarely between the poles of provision and protection. Protecting what we love, or what we deem important, is fundamental to screen cultures—it is the basis of many philias and the impetus for preserving the archive. But which media artefacts do we protect, and which legacies do we preserve? In a heavily interconnected world, caring for one thing often implies carelessness with respect to others.
In other fora the tension between provision and protection is more overt. Providing what others need brings these others in one’s care, and social media platforms with their “terms and conditions” have weathered sustained critique about how little they protect the people they are providing services for. This notion of carelessness similarly finds itself at the centre of media-studies debates on surveillance, presenting a harsh reality for those who consider ‘big data’ analysis in the service of counterterrorism deserving of our consternation. Advances in artificial intelligence similarly present the bleak potentials of self-operative administration of care and carelessness. The economy of attention has become a political economy of care, centred on the question of who should receive our scarce resources. As is apparent, it is our media – contemporary film and television, journalism or social media – which both represents and facilitates these emergent hierarchies, serving as a platform to investigate how the individual or a population is subjugated by systems of care. In the same manner that we pay equal attention to both its actors and subjects, we must explore how this economy of care is both mediated through and expressed by our media, inclusive of its associated paradoxes and contradictions.
In the spirit of care-ful scholarship and politics, thinking and acting, NECS and the Screen Cultures initiative at the Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo, invite cinema and media scholars to come together to think about care and its implications across film and media history and into the digitally mediatised cultures of the 21st century.
Potential topics include—but are not limited to:
- Media ethics, including cinema ethics
- Empathy and media
- Media and sustainability
- Mental health and media
- Screen technologies and health care
- Uses of big data
- AI futures
- Media preservation and legacies
- Media and social justice
- Gender and care
- Race and ethnicity studies
- Discourses of care in the media
- Humanist and posthumanist perspectives on care
- Care for animals in media
- Trauma and post-trauma in media
- Digital care
- Caring on/and Social Media
When preparing submission for NECS 2023 please keep in mind the following restrictions. Individuals may submit only one proposal, either as an individual presenter or as part of a pre-constituted panel or workshop. Conference participants may only serve in a MAXIMUM of two capacities. These might be:
- deliver a paper and serve as a chair of either a panel or a workshop
- deliver a paper and participate in a workshop
- deliver a paper and serve as a respondent on another panel
- chair a workshop and serve as a respondent on a panel
- chair a panel and participate in a workshop
Individual presentations last a maximum of 20 minutes. Individuals wishing to submit a proposal are required to provide their name, email address, the title of the paper, an abstract (max. 300 words), key bibliographical references (max. 200 words), and a short bio of the speaker (max. 150 words).
We support the submission of proposals for pre-constituted panels containing 3 or 4 papers (3 papers only if there is a respondent) in order to strengthen the thematic coherence of panels. Furthermore, several thematically related panels may form larger clusters. We strongly encourage members of the NECS workgroups to put together pre-constituted panels, but we also welcome submissions from academic research project teams, museums, archives, and other institutions. We highly recommend no more than two speakers from the same institution with a maximum of 20 minutes speaking time per paper. Panel organizers are asked to submit panel proposals that include a panel title, a short description of the panel (max. 300 words) and information on all of the individual papers of the panel, as described above.
Events such as workshops, roundtables or seminars – both pre-conference and conference – concentrating on more practical aspects within the field, e.g. teaching, research methods, publishing, or networking with the media industry are also welcome. Speaking time should be limited to 10 minutes per participant. Organizers are asked to submit workshop proposals that include a title and a short description (max. 300 words) with a list of participants.
The NECS workgroups will have the opportunity to meet during the conference. Please notify the conference organizers if you wish to hold a workgroup meeting: email@example.com
Please submit all proposals before January 31, 2023 using the submission form available at: https://necs.org/conference/proposal-submission-form/.
The submission form is only open to registered NECS members who have paid the membership fee.
Participants are required to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. A list of local hotels as well as information regarding additional events will be posted on the NECS conference website in Spring 2023.
Conference committee: Luca Barra (coordinator, University of Bologna, Italy), Elzbieta Durys (University of Lotz, Poland), Alessia Cervini (University of Palermo, Italy), Nessa Johnston (Liverpool University, UK), Gökçen Karanfil (Izmir University of Economics, Turkey), Marta Maciejewska (University of Gdansk, Poland), Andreea Mihalcea (UNATC, Romania), Raphaëlle Moine (Université Sorbonne – Paris 3, France), Stefania Rimini (University of Catania, Italy), Jan Teurlings (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands), Ebru Uzunoglu (Izmir University of Economics, Turkey), Gertjan Willems (University of Antwerp, Belgium), Steffen Krüger, Kim Wilkins, Jon Inge Faldalen, Liv Hausken, Kjetil Rødje, Pasi Väliaho, Timotheus Vermeulen, Espen Ytreberg (University of Oslo)
NECS Conference Local Organizing Team: Steffen Krüger, Kim Wilkins, Adam Glazer