THE DEPARTMENT OF CINEMA AND MEDIA STUDIES
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESENTS:
April 23, 2021, 4:00 PM CT —
April 24, 2021, 8:00 PM CT
Note: Due to the ongoing pandemic, this conference will take place remotely.
a conference about
Sites of Spectatorship
April 23-24, 2021
The cinematic has never been confined to “the cinema”: throughout film history, spectatorship has taken place across a multitude of sites. From home movies projected on living room walls, to vaudeville recordings shown in prisons, to all-Black westerns that played in segregated theaters — cinema has always been a vexed site, the experience of which has been predicated on the subjectivities of spectators and the nature of the spaces they inhabit.
This conference celebrates increasing scholarship that seeks to create a more kaleidoscopic view of where cinema can be found and who its spectators are. Nowhere is this more true than in the shifting configurations we see today, including streaming services, mobile viewing, alternative approaches to exhibition, and more. “Site/Seeing” puts the diverse histories of cinematic spectatorship in conversation with the present and possible futures.
Photo by Alexandra Friendly Photography
CUNY Distinguished Professor of Film and Media Studies, Baruch College
Dr. Alison Griffiths (PhD, NYU; MA, University of London) is CUNY Distinguished Professor of Film and Media Studies at Baruch College and an internationally recognized scholar of film, media, and visual studies. Her research crosses the fields of film studies, nineteenth century visual culture, and medieval visual studies and examines cinema’s relationship to and experience in non-traditional spaces of media consumption. Griffiths is the author of three monographs and over 35 journal articles and book chapters. Her most recent book, Carceral Fantasies: Cinema and Prisons in Early Twentieth Century America (Columbia, 2016), examines how cinema gained a foothold in American penitentiaries as well as the range of early images of inmates that fed the carceral imagination.
Kara Keeling, PhD
Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, University of Chicago
Dr. Kara Keeling (PhD, University of Pittsburgh) is Professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies and in the College at the University of Chicago. Keeling’s research has focused on African American film, representations of race, sexuality, and gender in cinema, critical theory, and cultural studies. Keeling’s most recent monograph, Queer Times, Black Futures, was published in 2019 by New York University Press. It considers the promises and pitfalls of imagination, technology, futurity, and liberation as they have persisted in and through racial capitalism by exploring how the speculative fictions of cinema, music, and literature that center black existence provide scenarios wherein we might imagine alternative worlds, queer and otherwise. Keeling’s first book, The Witch's Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense (Duke University Press, 2007), explores the role of cinematic images in the construction and maintenance of hegemonic conceptions of the world and interrogates the complex relationships between cinematic visibility, minority politics, and the labor required to create and maintain alternative organizations of social life. Keeling is co-editor (with Josh Kun) of Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies, a collection of writings about sound and American Studies and (with Colin MacCabe and Cornel West) of a selection of writings by the late James A. Snead entitled European Pedigrees/ African Contagions: Racist Traces and Other Writing. Keeling’s essays have appeared in the journals GLQ, The Black Scholar, Women and Performance, and elsewhere.
Jenisha Borah is a PhD student in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include intersections of cinema and the city, informal economies, and film spectatorship.
Ashley Truehart is a PhD student in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include the specter of the Hollywood Production Code over present-day representations of race, and manifestations of Black liberation ideologies through media.
Maggie Sivit is a PhD student in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include critical theory, documentary and archival studies, and Cuban cinema.