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[ecrea] Anti-Fascism on Film: CFP

Mon Nov 11 22:35:49 GMT 2013

Anti-Fascism on Film:

Thursday 20th February 2014

De Montfort University, Leicester

(Part of the University's Cultural Exchanges Week)

supported by the Media Discourse Group and the Meccsa Social Movements Network

Anti-Fascism has appeared as a consistent theme in cinematic and documentary form since the rise of fascist parties in the twenties and thirties. In the early period, anti-fascist themes in cinema were explicitly enunciated, with Nazi Germany serving as a particular target of critique, when the more liberal Hollywood producers and directors examined this new form of populist authoritarianism and its vicious assault on the pre-war social order (see for example, 'Mortal Storm' 1940).

Anti-Fascism is not, however, a straightforward proposition, as it is complicated by the use of state power against rival polities. During the Second World War, for example, the 'democracies' advanced their interests under the banner of national crusades against totalitarianism, a narrative that could be transferred from the fascist villain to a host of other post-war enemies.

As fascism manifests itself as a combination of reactionary, racist/anti-semitic, patriarchal, misogynistic, hysterical, criminal and nationalistic currents, the critique of this stance is presented with a variety of strategic opportunities. Therefore, the analysis of fascism itself varies from text to text: in many cases, it is based on a narrow conception of an 'illiberal' and ignorant force, eliding reference to the relationship between fascism and capitalism. Some movies, in addition, might be highly critical of fascism's attack on freedom of speech, but ignore the deeply misogynistic character of fascist/totalitarian regimes.

Those movies that show an awareness of the dilemmas and complexities involved in opposing fascist/authoritarian systems, regimes or parties (such as 'Land and Freedom' of 1995 or 'Pan's Labyrinth' of 2006), provide therefore a useful contrast to the more propagandistic fare evident within state-sponsored material, while the more subtle nuances evident within the work of pre and post-war exiles (including directors and writers who became the victims of McCarthyism) can be interpreted as the continuation of an anti-authoritarian agenda within a new context.

In essence, we are aware of the distinction between open and more subtle attacks on fascist activity, knowing for instance that the representation of Fascist behaviours is often a critique in itself, with the audience called upon to pass judgement on the conduct of the characters on screen. The distinction we would make is between forms of representation that are meant to provoke such a response, and those that seem to celebrate the fascist ethos, or present it in a 'neutral' fashion, or just dwell on the spectacle of fascist iconography.

We are interested in obtaining the widest range of papers, written from a variety of anti-fascist/anti-racist/anti-totalitarian/feminist/socialist perspectives, which address the issue of Anti-Fascism on Film. This material can be drawn from documentary, televisual, online or cinematic sources, with the proviso that we are not prepared to examine the textual productions of fascist and/or Nazi adherents, however unsympathetically they might be framed by academics, and are less than enthusiastic about fictional material that seems to relish the representation of fascist atrocity. Our emphasis is on, therefore, anti-fascist perspectives as well as on the textual evidence of anti-fascist discourse. In a nutshell, the 'Triumph of the Will' won't be screened, and stuff on Nazi Vampires on Speed might not make the shortlist. We would ask if possible for contributors to use embedded clips (or at least MP4 files on the desktop) in what will be twenty-minute presentations. Searching through DVDs will not be possible.

Topics might include:
Anti-Fascism and Revolution in (representations of) the Spanish Civil War
Representations of Nazi Persecution: the Holocaust
Contemporary Documentary productions and the critique of fascism
Inter-State Rivalry and Anti-Fascist Propaganda
Personal Testimony and Memory on Screen
Anti-Fascist Cinema and Activism
Anti-Nazi Texts and Hollywood
Resistance Movements in Europe
Gender, Identity and the Anti-Fascist
TV documentaries, anti-fascism and the Second World War
Contemporary representations of anti-fascism on You Tube
National Identities and anti-fascist activity (the Greek and French cases, for example)
News and the representation of anti-fascism

Please submit your paper title, together with a 150/200 word abstract, your name, title and institutional affiliation (if any) to (sprice /at/

DEADLINE: Friday 20th DECEMBER 2013

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