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[Commlist] Call for Draft Chapters- African Screen Worlds: An International Workshop
Fri Jul 12 10:12:13 GMT 2019
*Call for Draft Chapters*
*African Screen Worlds: An International Workshop *
SOAS, University of London, UK
“A way of apprehending the world based on my experience, my education,
my culture and my environment. /Mantisme /is a system of thought that we
virtually assimilate to a language that is unique to each individual. A
language that I permanently “negotiate” with the language of the “other”
with whom I would share an experience, education, culture and a similar
(Jean-Pierre Bekolo, /Africa for the Future: sortir un nouveau monde du
cinema /, cited and translated by P. Julie Papaioannou, “‘Qu’elle
aille explorer le possible!’ /Or African Cinema according to Jean-Pierre
Bekolo/, in Harrow and Garritano, eds, /A Companion to African Cinema/,
Wiley Blackwell, 2018, p.405)
In September 2020, a three-day, fully-funded workshop will be held at
SOAS, University of London as part of the ERC-funded project “African
Screen Worlds: Decolonising Film and Screen Studies”. In the broadest
sense, the workshop is designed to facilitate and inspire collaborative
dialogue and work on creative African screen media texts and contexts
among scholars working in this field in different parts of the world and
– in particular – within Africa. To facilitate this, all transport,
accommodation, visa, and meal costs will be fully covered for the
selected participants, regardless of where they will be traveling from.
In a more specific sense, the focus of the event will be collectively
workshopping and developing pre-submitted chapters for publication in an
edited volume titled /African Screen Worlds. /There will be several
inspiring keynote presentations by leading African screen media
scholars, practitioners and creative researchers.
All submissions will need to engage, in some way, with the concept of
“screen worlds”, which we put forward as a heuristic device to encourage
creative, provocative approaches and angles of analysis in relation to
African screen media. Our reasons for suggesting this concept are
twofold. First, we would like to put the emphasis on the importance of
analysing screen cultures through the diverse “worldviews” of particular
locations and individual artists, acknowledging that films are
significantly influenced by the ways that filmmakers constantly
negotiate their subjective experiences of the world with the contexts in
which their films are conceptualised, made, circulated and viewed.
Second, we wish to interrogate the possibilities and tensions that
manifest themselves in the creation and circulation of diverse “screen
worlds” in a variety of formats (feature fiction films, short films,
creative documentaries, web series) in our era of digital flows as well
as barriers, of mediated border-crossings as well as geo-blocking and
censorship. For example, as mobile data becomes cheaper in Africa, the
possibilities for streaming African-made content via phones could become
transformative for people’s viewing experiences, and platforms such as
iRoko, ShowMax, Sodere and Netflix are responding to these
opportunities. And if African films are growing in popularity and
accessibility, this perhaps means that even “arthouse” films might be
able to break out of the international film festival circuit on which
they have been dependent for so long, moving beyond the “world cinema”
category to which they have often been consigned, for better or worse.
This workshop asks participants to consider these recent developments in
African screen cultures and technology in relation to one or more of the
following: specific “worldviews” (both on the African continent and in
Africa’s diverse diasporas); contemporary, mainstream theorising around
screen cultures and experiences (e.g. the work of Giuliana Bruno,
William Uricchio, Haidee Wasson); the representational forms African
films currently take and might take in the near future; and the ways in
which African films are made, circulated and viewed. In each case we
encourage authors to foreground something about their own identity,
positionality and/or lived experience in relation to the subject matter
(in line with Bekolo’s idea of “mantisme”). We wish to be clear that we
hold no preconceived or fixed views on how the concept of “screen
worlds” should be theorised; we suggest this concept as a prompt to see
how different scholars of African screen media choose to
theorise/translate/argue against/reject this concept in relation to
particular cinematic texts and/or their contexts of production and
consumption. We are particularly interested in chapters from
Africa-based researchers grounded in local perspectives and experiences,
and based on long-term research. We strongly encourage submissions from
both established and early career researchers.
In addition to the issues raised above, chapters might address the
following questions (although this list is by no means exhaustive):
-How do African filmmakers conceptualise screen content depending on
whether they are targeting “big screen” or “small screen” cinema audiences?
-How are the melodramatic, low-production-value “screen worlds”//that
are common across commercial film industries in Africa changing under
new industrial conditions of film production, distribution and exhibition?
-How do audiences in diverse African and diasporic contexts experience
the diegetic “screen worlds” of different African films?
-What are the relationships between film and television in African and
diasporic contexts, particularly in relation to Moradewun Adejunmobi’s
groundbreaking theorisation of the “televisual turn” in African screen
media (2015), and the general global turn to television?
-How are video on demand platforms such as ShowMax, Sodere, and Netflix,
as well as phone apps such as iRoko, changing the forms, modes and
routes of African screen media?
-Are chasms developing or closing between “popular” cinema and “film
festival” cinema in Africa and elsewhere because of the different kinds
of screens on which these forms of cinema tend to be watched?
-What does the popularity of certain film genres across and beyond
Africa, as well as the emergence of popular local film genres in
specific African contexts, tell us about the local/global nature of
-What kind of new genres of filmmaking, and convergence of artistic
forms beyond cinema, are evident in recent creative African screen media
texts, both in the continent and beyond?
-Does “world cinema” remain an important category of analysis when it
comes to contemporary African screen media and why/why not?
*Submissions need to include:*
i)a draft chapter ofbetween 6,000 – 8,000 words (word count includes
footnotes but excludes bibliography)
ii)a chapter abstract of 300 words
iii)a biography of 300 words
Please use the Harvard style referencing system and UK rather than US
spelling. If you quote something in an African language (which is
encouraged), please make sure that you also provide an English translation.
Please note that the workshop will take place either directly before or
after the 2020 African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) conference
at Cardiff University, Wales, to make it easier for participants to
potentially attend both events. We strongly encourage our participants
to also submit abstract/panel proposals to this conference when the Call
for Papers is published. Please note, however, that we cannot cover
participants’ costs for attending ASAUK.
*Deadline:* 15^January 2020
*Submit to: *Dr**Lindiwe Dovey ((LD18 /at/ SOAS.AC.UK)) <mailto:(LD18 /at/ SOAS.AC.UK))>
This project has received funding from the European Research Council
(ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation
programme (grant agreement No 819236).
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