Archive for calls, August 2020

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[Commlist] CFP: Virtuous Viewing

Tue Aug 18 10:42:29 GMT 2020

Virtuous viewing

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. 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. Of course, the curation of moving images is not new and presents genuine opportunities for awareness, consciousness raising, and political change. And yet, 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, 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 structured by 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
  * Slacktivism
  * Religious spectatorship
  * Ethnographic and or personal accounts of partaking in virtuous
    viewing and or list making
  * Histories of issue-oriented viewing lists
  * Video sharing platform playlists and algorithmic suggestions

Please send 500-word proposals with short bio to Stephen Groening (groening /at/ <mailto:(groening /at/>by November 1^st , 2020.

Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Cinema and Media Studies, University of Washington

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