Teaching Non-Theatrical and Useful Media
Journal issue, 15. September 2019.
CFP for Consideration for Teaching Dossier of the
Journal of Cinema and Media Studies (JCMS)
Theme: “Teaching Non-Theatrical and Useful Media”
Tanya Goldman (New York University)
Hongwei Chen (Tulane University)
Joseph Clark (Simon Fraser University)
Sophia Graefe (Philipps University Marburg)
We invite submissions for an upcoming proposal for consideration by the Journal of Cinema and Media Studies’ Teaching Dossier editorial board. The JCMS Teaching Dossier is an online feature found at teachingmedia.org. The site offers media scholars a venue to share pedagogical resources and discuss undergraduate teaching on a wide range of topics.
In recent decades, an increasing number of scholars have turned their attention to the study of so-called “useful media” – educational and training films, industrials, newsreels, travelogues, home movies, and more. As Charles Acland and Haidee Wasson point out, these media are characterized less by their artistic and entertainment goals than by their “ability to transform unlikely spaces, convey ideas, convince individuals, and produce subjects in the service of public and private aims” (Useful Cinema, 2011).
The scholarship on these media forms and their frequently “non-theatrical” viewing spaces charts alternative geographies of film experience, mapping an expansive and diverse network of production practices, exhibition contexts, and reception sites. By complicating the narrative of cinema as a single institution and repositioning film, video, and television at the intersection of a multiplicity of everyday uses and institutional functions, the study of non-theatrical film and useful media also poses new challenges and opportunities for research and pedagogy.
As the discipline of cinema and media studies continues to expand and evolve, how might instructors refine their courses to expose students to a more eclectic range of moving image forms and experiences? In what ways might attention to non-theatrical film and useful media in the classroom change the analytical skills we teach and the historical and theoretical questions we ask? How, for example, do we teach formal analysis for films that are not meant to be freestanding texts but rather, as Vinzenz Hediger and Patrick Vonderau write, “interfaces between discourses and forms of social and industrial organization” (Films That Work, 2009)? How might we envision curricular principles for surveying the gamut of commissioned, amateur, and institutional films, most of which do not fit into existing film historical narratives? Moreover, how do we align our teaching with recent archival prerogatives aimed at preserving and digitally disseminating ephemeral and orphan works? This dossier aims to offer case studies and reflections on how instructors can integrate these often neglected works into survey or special topic courses.We welcome contributions from scholars, teachers, and archivists from a wide-range of disciplines and levels of experience (including non-tenured instructors) and seek those utilizing multiple and transdisciplinary angles that draw from a wide range of disciplines related to film and media studies including anthropology, sociology, history, science and technology studies, education, gender studies, ethnic studies, etc.
Areas of interest include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
- Incorporating non-theatrical media into existing courses, including introductions to film and media, survey courses in national and global cinemas, documentary studies, etc.
- Reframing audience and reception studies using histories of non-theatrical exhibition
- Studying racialized and other historically marginalized media cultures through useful and non-theatrical media
- Reevaluating auteurism through useful media
- Useful cinema as a case study in archival studies
- Considering new examples of useful media in the digital age
- Teaching media production with attention to useful cinema
- Adding media ethnography, visual anthropology, or other forms of moving images more commonly used in disciplines outside cinema and media studies
Please submit a brief abstract and title (~250-400 words) and short bio including teaching experience (~150 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 15, 2019. Decisions from the editors will be sent out by mid-October. The full proposal will then be sent to the JCMS Teaching Dossier editorial team for consideration and feedback. If accepted by JCMS, we will aim to have final essays (~1,750 words) by January 31, 2020.
Before submitting your proposal, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with previous dossiers: