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[ecrea] CFP Docusophia: Documentary/Philosophy International Conference - Deadline Extended to January 15
Mon Dec 18 09:20:00 GMT 2017
Call for Papers - Deadline Extended to January 15, 2018
Documentary/Philosophy International Conference
May 22-24, 2018
The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, Tel Aviv University
The Tel Aviv Cinematheque
Organizing Committee: Dr. Shai Biderman, Dr. Shmulik Duvdevani and Dr.
Ohad Landesman (Tel Aviv University, The Steve Tisch School of Film and
There is a century-old tradition of defining documentary in
philosophical terms. Yet, this tradition seems to miss the most
intelligible (yet, conspicuously evasive) aspect of documentary praxis:
its conceptual entanglement with philosophy itself. This entanglement is
oddly mirrored in Carl Plantinga’s characterization of the documentary
as an “asserted veridical representation,” or in John Grierson’s famous
depiction of documentary as “a creative treatment of actuality.” Such
characterizations install the most adamants relations film has with the
highly charged philosophical concepts of truth, reality and the real.
These relations are at the heart of the documentary practice, and are
essential to any working definition of documentary cinema.
Indeed, how do we think of the notion of documentary and of specific
documentary films in philosophical terms? how do documentaries deal with
philosophical issues? A recently published anthology edited by David
LaRocca titled The Philosophy of Documentary Film: Image, Sound,
Fiction, Truth(2016) testifies to the ever-growing connections, both
scholarly and in practice, between the two disciplines. Prominent
filmmakers such as Errol Morris, Terrence Malick (in his 2016 IMAX
documentary Voyage of Time) as well as films like What the Bleep Do We
Know?andIs The Man Who Is Tall Happy?are exploring philosophical,
theological, scientific and abstract questions in a unique and
Thus, such an engagement is especially timely and topical because of the
pressing need to reconfigure the philosophical outputs of documentary’s
new horizons as a developing practice. Characterized by unprecedented
theatrical success and accelerated aesthetic evolution, documentaries
today have been breaking new grounds, entertaining arguments based on
uncertainties and incompleteness by prioritizing elements of
subjectivity, fiction, and drama. In this second film-philosophy
conference—devoted to the entangled relations between documentary and
philosophy—we wish to consider the significant makeover that documentary
studies has gone through lately to fit these changes, and further
explore the significant place that philosophy may hold within
contemporary documentary studies.
Considering how fiction and fact have been recently intertwined in
non-fiction subgenres (e.g., the mockumentary, the drama-documentary or
the ‘hybrid film’), it becomes essential to redefine what we now mean
when we say “documentary films”, and to assess the nature of their truth
claims. Following its recent spread into new virtual and social
platforms and increased venture into the realm of television,
philosophizing about documentary must invite us to rethink what defines
it as a practice, a genre, a medium or a filmic strategy, and how this
definition is always dynamic. When subjective authorial voices are
assertively flaunted in video diaries, essay-films and performative
documentaries, a new set of philosophical questions that relate to
performance, ethics and authorship is in need of reconsideration.
The conference will also coincide with the 20th installment of DocAviv,
the Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival, which will take
place between 17-26 on May 2018.
DocAviv has carefully carved its niche today as one of the leading
documentary festivals worldwide, and it is the only festival in Israel
dedicated in its entirety to documentary films. We are excited to
participate with DocAviv next year and happy that our conference
attendees will also be able to enjoy such an important celebration of
We aim to bring together in our conference leading and emerging scholars
and filmmakers to investigate together such issues and enhance ongoing
dialogues both within documentary studies and philosophy individually
and also between these discourses. We welcome a range of papers that
might be conceptual, theoretical or practice-as-research in orientation.
We are interested in papers, for example, in the following broad areas:
New takes on the ontology of the cinematic image in the digital age.
Video essays and philosophizing about film through film.
The meeting between philosophy and poetry in documentary films in
general and essay films in particular.
Documentary in the age of film-philosophy: specific films (analysis and
theory) and filmmakers (documentarians).
Documentary, theory and/v.s. praxis.
The real and reality through philosophy (Cavell, Plato, etc.).
Documentary and epistemology.
Documentary-as-objective (Noël Carroll) vs. the dismissal of such an
approach (Brian Winston).
Ethical issues in the age of crowd-sourced and social networks
Documentaries on philosophy and philosophers.
Imposters and frauds: the status of documentary truth in the 21st century.
Theological debates dealing with religious subjects and faith in
Philosophical provocations on the elusive fiction/non-fiction divide.
Philosophical inquiries into fraud and deception in mockumentaries.
Phenomenology and documentary (e.g., cinema verite, experiential
The philosophical premises and goals of ethnography in documentary cinema.
Political philosophy and the political documentary.
Please send an abstract (up to 300 words in length, including the
research objectives, theoretical framework and methodology) and a brief
biography (100 words maximum), by January 15th, 2018 to
(tau.docuphil /at/ gmail.com) <mailto:(tau.docuphil /at/ gmail.com)>. Each proposal
must include title, name(s), affiliation, institutional address and
email addresses of the author(s). Notification of acceptance/rejection
of abstracts will be sent by February 1st, 2018.
Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by participants.
For further enquiries, please contact the organizers directly: Dr. Ohad
Landesman ((lander /at/ post.tau.ac.il) <mailto:(lander /at/ post.tau.ac.il)>); Dr.
Shai Biderman ((bidermans /at/ post.tau.ac.il)
<mailto:(bidermans /at/ post.tau.ac.il)>); or Dr. Shmulik Duvdevani
((duvdeva /at/ post.tau.ac.il) <mailto:(duvdeva /at/ post.tau.ac.il)>).
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