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[ecrea] CFP: Cinema and populism ("Cinema e Storia" journal)

Mon Feb 19 22:00:56 GMT 2018


«Cinema e Storia. Rivista di studi interdisciplinari» — n. 1/2019

*Cinema and populism. Shared forms, images, and genealogies*

edited by Valerio Coladonato & Andrea Sangiovanni

Is it possible to investigate “populism” through cinema? What relationships can be established between cinema — as an apparatus that produces widespread images and narratives — and those political phenomena that can be described through the concept of populism? The issue 1/2019 of the journal «Cinema e Storia» will be dedicated to the analysis of these exchanges from an international perspective. The category of populism is slippery and contradictory, both in common parlance and in its historiographic application: here we will adopt an extensive definition, partly borrowed from political sciences. We will understand as “populist” those political phenomena characterized by at least three elements: the imagination of a uniform “people” which acts as the moral custodian of sovereignty; the construction of a charismatic leader; and contempt towards politics and/or a presumed corrupt elite. Given its paramount role in the representation of the masses and the orchestration of affect around “extraordinary” individuals in the XXth century (e.g. through the creation of the star system), cinema can provide tools for the analysis of populisms. This is also demonstrated by some recent works that have applied categories derived from film studies to the analysis of the communication and performance style of a political leader, or to highlight the overlaps between the notions of “people” and “audience” in media populisms.

It is therefore possible to investigate the multiple ways in which cinema has contributed to the changing relationship (and disintermediation) between people and leader — either by reducing distances or by prefiguring ruptures between the two. Another possibility lies in analyzing how political passions and conflicts are represented in populist contexts through cinematic influences. Given that the consensus of populist movements depends on a binary split of the social field, opposing the people and a corrupt elite and obscuring all intermediary positions, what narrative formulas and symbolic elements facilitate the construction of such imagery?

Taking into account the already mentioned ambiguity and indeterminateness of the concept of populism, contributors will be invited to refer to how this notion has been theorized in political sciences, highlighting both its efficacy and its limits in relation to their case studies. It will be necessary to distinguish populism from other categories and historical forms of political action (such as fascism). The evolution of discourses on populism — both as an analytical category and in its polemic use in political debates and film criticism — will also be taken into account. Moreover, aspects intersecting with similar debates can be discussed: for instance, the relationship between political cinema and the category of “popular,” as well as discourses on the “popular” vocation of cinema (also in contrast to the language and cultural legitimacy of other communication forms).

The articles can either focus on single films and directors, or they can broaden their perspective to the processes of construction and circulation of the filmic imagery in a specific context.

Proposals can address one or more of the following topics (this list is not exclusive):

- representational strategies of power in a given historical conjuncture which presents the traits of populism;

- the relationship between charismatic forms of government and the populist imaginary (e.g. the permeability between the star system and political communication);

- exchanges between populist movements and the fields of film production and distribution;

- the representation of relevant historical figures in populist contexts;

- conceptual oppositions in critical discourses (e.g. the definition of some directors or cinematographic movements as populist or neopopulist);

- discourses on film audiences in relation to the idea of the “people”, and their political implications;

- the hegemonic gender models in populist communication and their relationship to the star system.

Deadlines & Guidelines

To propose an article please send an abstract and short biographical note to the address (redazione /at/ <mailto:(redazione /at/> by March 31, 2018.

Abstracts must be between 200 and 250 words, and may be presented in English or Italian, although completed articles must be in Italian - proofreading will be guaranteed by “Cinema e Storia” editorial board.

The proposal should include: five key-words, names of author(s), institution(s) and contact details (email, telephone), together with a short bio for each author.

If the proposal is accepted, the author/s will be asked to send the complete article to the same e-mail address by July 31, 2018. Contributions will be sent to two independent reviewers in a double-blind peer review process prior to the final publication decision. Authors may be requested to change or improve their articles if suggested by reviewers.

Articles should be between 4,000-5,000 words in length (no more than 35,000 characters, spaces and notes included), but shorter articles will be also considered.

For info, please send an email to:

(valerio.coladonato /at/ <mailto:(valerio.coladonato /at/> and/or (asangiovanni /at/ <mailto:(asangiovanni /at/>

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