2015 Conference Call for Papers

First Forum Logo Color

On the Fringe: Understanding Alternative and Subversive Media

USC Critical Studies Graduate Conference, Los Angeles, California October 16th–17th, 2015

First Forum, the 2015 USC Critical Studies Graduate Conference, seeks out scholars examining a wide array of media existing on the “fringe” of mainstream commercial industries and the theoretical and critical frameworks that illuminate them. The areas of cinema and media this encompasses—such as avant-garde/experimental, minor cinemas, guerrilla television, YouTube and amateur internet media, B-movies, third cinema, exploitation genre, or feminist filmmaking—have historically been marginalized despite their rapid expansion and growing importance in the field of media studies. These fringe texts represent how visual media evolved over time speak to foundational questions of their surrounding visual culture, satisfy niche consumers, or express ideological manifestos. How does the fringe media serve as an alternative to the greater industry it is surrounded by? How do they impact our notions of “cinema” or digital media? What does it mean for a fringe media to become mainstream? What theoretical or political issues arise as we understand marginalized media? Topics are encouraged to draw from a wide variety of critical lenses, as well as focus on any time period, genre, or medium.

In addition to panels showcasing graduate papers, this year’s conference will include a roundtable discussion between Dr. David E. James, Dr. Kara Keeling, Dr. Akira Lippit, and Dr. Michael Renov, as well as alumni lectures, and a keynote address.

We welcome papers engaged with fringe studies, and encourage submissions that take a fluid interpretation of this topic as well. Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words for a 20-minute panel presentation as well as a brief bio of no more than 100 words. Non-traditional, creative projects are welcome, as are individual papers or pre-constituted panels.

Please email your submissions and inquiries to Sophia Serrano at wagnerse@usc.edu by May 26th, 2015.

Possible topics include:

Avant-garde, B-movies/Genre films, Experimental video art, Third Cinema, Guerrilla television, Blaxploitation, Feminist Theory/Media, Underrepresented artists, Pornography, Citizen journalism, Expired technologies, Found footage, Documentary, Forgotten media, Amateur Internet media, Cult Films, Genre films, Alternative histories, Minor Cinemas, Race politics and theory, Developing media.