Archive for 2020

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[Commlist] CFP "Virtuous Viewing"

Mon Oct 19 16:39:43 GMT 2020

Virtuous viewing (deadline for proposals *November 1*)

Over the past few months, numerous streaming services, media conglomerates, film critics and journals, as well as academic departments, have published lists of anti-racist films and television shows to watch, or promoted Black Lives Matter watchlists and viewing queues. This phenomenon has altered what it means to watch, particularly in a time of quarantine when cinematic spectatorship in the US largely a small group and private affair. Likewise, by connecting spectatorship to a political position, these lists present watching as an explicitly politically-aware act. The publication of watch lists is certainly not new and watching films and television shows has always been political. But because many of these lists also make educative claims (to watch these films is to become informed), such lists assume viewers are well-intentioned but ignorant. While the curation of moving images presents genuine opportunities for awareness, consciousness raising, and political change, these practices may also be cynical attempts to capitalize on a specific moment of work from home quarantine and political uprisings on the streets. Moreover, viewers themselves may attempt to signal their political awareness through social media posts and various other public markers in order to claim moral excellence.

This special issue of /Film Criticism/ seeks submissions on contemporary viewing practices and issues of spectatorship specifically related to the notion of virtue. Virtue has long been associated with moral excellence, including chastity, industry, honesty, and courage, as well as strength and power. The practice of virtuous viewing, then, is tied to demonstration of moral character and moral superiority. Open to a variety of methods and theoretical positions, this issue is looking for work that interrogates the creation of these lists and subsequent viewing practices. What are the implications of virtuous viewing for film and media studies? What historical contingencies have coalesced to make these practices possible? What are the potential effects of these practices? What kinds of spectatorship are available now, in a time marked by quarantine, political uprising, and internet-based digital media technologies?

Topics may include, but certainly are not limited to:

Virtue as branding and marketing strategy
Virtuous curation
Virtue signaling through viewing practices
Woke watching
History months and themes
Media literacy and curation
Public libraries as virtuous and educative curators
“Cancel culture” (as virtuous viewing’s negative form)
Religious spectatorship
Ethnographic and or personal accounts of participating in virtuous viewing and or list-making
Histories of issue-oriented viewing lists
Video sharing platform playlistsThe woke algorithm

Please send 500-word proposals with short bio to Stephen Groening (groening /at/ <mailto:(groening /at/> <mailto:(groening /at/ <mailto:(groening /at/>> by *November 1, 2020*. Full-length article drafts will be due in Spring 2021.

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