Sensibility and the Senses: Media, Bodies, Practices―The NECS 2017 Conference

Sensibility and the Senses: Media, Bodies, Practices―The NECS 2017 Conference

Paris, France, 29. June - 1. July 2017

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CALL FOR PAPERS  [closed!]

The NECS 2017 Conference

Media, Bodies, Practices

Paris, France
29 June to 01 July 2017
Hosted by the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3

27 and 28 June 2017
Hosted by the Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7

Keynote presentations
Centre Pompidou
Grand Amphithéâtre de la Sorbonne

Deadline for submissions: 31 January 2017

Please note that the membership fee must be paid before submission (see for more details). Pay the fee in January to get access for the full calendar year.

Please submit all proposals using the submission form available at:

The question of the relationship between media, bodies, and the senses cuts across the entire history of media theories. Since their first appearance, technical media such as telegraphy, photography, gramophone, film, typewriter, the telephone, radio, and then television, computer, internet, as well as a wide variety of cultural techniques for the recording, processing, and transmitting of information have been analyzed taking into consideration their relationships with the human body and its sensory organs. Concepts such as “organ projection,” “prosthesis,” “innervation,” “extension,” and “interface” have been used to describe the contact and the interaction between human organisms and technical apparatuses with their various degrees of hybridization, which in turn have generated a whole series of utopian anddystopian visions of a future “post-human” condition. And while the very notion of medium is strictly related to the problem of sensory perception (since it finds one of its origins in the Latin translation of a Greek term, metaxy, which was used by Aristotle in order to indicate the material intermediary entities that make perception possible), the body itself (with its expressive face, its sensitive skin, and its meaningful gestures and movements) has often been considered a sort of primary medium, a crucial reference point in order to understand the very nature of mediation.
The current transformations in our media landscape raise once more the question of the correlation between the history of technology and the history of the human sensorium, and invite us to reconsider the various possible relationships between media – in the widest sense of the term – and the realm of the senses, affects, and emotions. Cinema, with the various historical transformations of its spatial dispositif, has provided for decades and continues to provide a particularly important field for the interpretation of the cultural dynamics involved in the representation and reception of bodily identities and for the analysis of the aesthetic, embodied experience of the spectator. The same can be said for other visual, audiovisual, and sound media, which have tried to render through the grains, textures, and frequencies of their representations the different, dynamic materialities of bodies and sensations.
Today, the new bio-technical forms of life produced by ubiquitous digital media and by a whole range of artistic and non-artistic practices confront us with unprecedented theoretical questions, which can be tackled by combining perspectives that are both archaeological and forward-looking. We need appropriate theoretical frameworks in order to understand phenomena such as the sensory and cognitive functions performed by contemporary networked screens, the return of stereoscopic 3D imagery, the recent developments in the fields of virtual and augmented reality, the increasing presence in our living environment of intelligent sensing devices, the agencies of elemental media and mediating matters, as well as our daily interactions with digital technologies whose computational processes and outcomes are located below or beyond the thresholds of human perception. Understanding the new conditions of human and non-human sensibility within a fully networked media environment is one of the major challenges of contemporary film and media studies.

The 2017 NECS conference – which will take place for the first time France, in a cultural context which has given a very important contribution to the development and the institutionalization of film and media studies – will try to meet this challenge by tackling the crucial issue of the relationship between media, bodies, and the senses through the different research perspectives pursued by the members of our community.

Submissions may include but are not limited to the following topics:

  • the different ways in which the relationship between media, bodies, and the senses has been discussed in the history of film and media theories
  • the possible correlations between the history of visual, audiovisual, and sound technologies, and the history of sensory experience
  • the human body as medium
  • the nature of embodied media experiences: the perspectives of philosophy, psychology, and the neurosciences
  • media environments, sensitive landscapes, mediating matters
  • audiovisual media and the aesthetics/economies/ecologies of attention and distraction
  • the history and the current transformation of screens, and their relation to human sensory experience
  • audience bodies: apparatuses, behaviors, and the senses
  • the media experiences produced by 3D imaging and by virtual and augmented reality devices
  • media/body interfaces
  • bodily gestures and motion capture technologies
  • the history and current developments of techniques of brain and body imaging, biometrics, and body data visualization
  • the impact of media and technologies of big data processing onto the forms and rhythms of human sensory perception
  • wearable media and smart tissues
  • the role of media in mobilizing and geolocalizing bodies
  • organic bodies, artificial bodies, hybrid bodies, prosthetic bodies
  • the relation between human and non-human (material, environmental, animal, technological) sensibility
  • the representation of bodies and the senses in the history of sound media
  • bodies and the senses in the history of experimental, avant-garde cinema and in contemporary visual arts
  • the aesthetics of film forms and the relationships between filmic and bodily energies and forces
  • bodies and the senses in the traditions of documentary cinema
  • bodies and the senses in visual anthropology and sensorial ethnography
  • bodies, senses, and modes of self-representation in social media
  • bodies and the senses in videogames and animation films
  • bodies, gestures, discipline, and performance in the history of industrial cinema
  • media, sensibility, affects, and emotions
  • audiovisual media and the politics of sexuality and body identities
  • media and the politics of the senses
  • stars and celebrities as bodies, images, and role models
  • bodies, senses, and fan cultures
  • the impact of new and domestic media on identities, intimacies, gender roles, and personal relationships
  • representations of bodies and the senses and questions of ethics, morality, and taste

Scholars from all areas of cinema and media studies, whether previously affiliated with NECS or new to the network, are invited to submit proposals, but NECS membership is a requirement.

NB The conference will be held in English, with a limited presence of contributions in French. Individual papers will have to be in English. Pre-constituted panels can be in English, in French, or with a mix of the two languages.


Individual papers

Individual presenters wishing to submit a proposal for a paper presentation of max. 20 minutes are required to provide their name, email address, the title of the paper, an abstract, key biographical references, and a short bio of the speaker.

Pre-constituted panels

We support the submission of proposals for pre-constituted panels with 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 would like to 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 each. Panel organizers are asked to submit panel proposals that include a panel title, a short description of the panel 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 of our 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.


There will be opportunity for the NECS workgroups to meet during the conference. Please notify the conference organizers if you wish to held a workgroup meeting in Paris:

Please note that individuals may submit only one paper proposal, either as individual presenters or as part of a pre-constituted panel or workshop. Please submit all proposals before 31 January 2017 using the submission form available at:


The NECS Graduate Workshop

The NECS Graduate Workshop has been designed to give scholars at the beginning of their career a platform for networking with established European film and media scholars. The 15th NECS Graduate Workshop in Paris (27-28 June 2017, Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7) is dedicated to the topic of Future Sensibilities: Mediations of Precarious Life. You will find the CfP online at: Please send your submission with an abstract (max. 200 words) and a short bio (max. 150 words) to:

Pre-Conference workshops and activities

Will be hosted by the Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7 on 27-28 June 2017. A full program will be available together with the Conference program.

There is no conference fee, but valid NECS membership and online registration are required in order to participate in the conference and to submit a proposal. Participants (individual presenters as well as all members of pre-constituted panels) must register and pay their membership fee before a proposal is submitted ( ). Since bank transfers may take some time, please consider transferring the membership fee before January 23rd, 2017.

Participants will have to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. Travel information, a list of local hotels and information on further events will be posted on the NECS conference website in Spring 2017.

See also:

Please email all inquiries to:


NECS Steering Committee: Sophie Einwächter, Judith Keilbach, Skadi Loist, Michał Pabiś-Orzeszyna, Francesco Pitassio, Antonio Somaini, Alena Strohmaier

NECS Conference Committee: Luca Barra, Ruggero Eugeni, Jesko Jockenhövel, Rahma Khazam, Daniel Kulle, Raphaëlle Moine, Michał Pabiś-Orzeszyna, Antonio Somaini

Local organizing team at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3: Raphaëlle Moine and Antonio Somaini, together with Alexis Blanchet, Fabrice Buschini, Teresa Castro, Kristian Feigelson, Kira Kitsopanidou, Barbara Laborde, Bruno Péquignot

Local organizing team at the Université Paris Diderot Paris 7: Emmanuelle André and Martine Beugnet.

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