Although it has established itself as a sub-discipline or hybrid of film and philosophy in various European formations, film-philosophy is relatively new to North American cinema and media studies. As one of the first in North America to nominate itself under its auspices, this conference explores the mobilization of philosophical discourses and projects relative to the modern event of cinema. More specifically, we seek papers that address the origins of film-philosophy, in addition to its current manifestations and future potentialities.

A highlight of this conference is the “Special Event: Onstage Conversation with Alain Badiou” co-presented with TIFF. Badiou, who has been called the most important philosopher since Gilles Deleuze, is the author of numerous books and articles that have helped define the major questions and contours of philosophy in the 20th and 21st centuries. He has taught at the École normale supérieure and the Collège international de philosophie in Paris, as well as the European Graduate School. In addition to his major philosophical works Being and Event and Logics of Worlds, his recent books translated into English include The Age of the Poets, Controversies: Politics and Philosophy in our Time, Cinema, The Communist Hypothesis, and Wittgenstein’s Anti-Philosophy.

In this onstage conversation moderated by Professor Ian Balfour of York University, Badiou will speak about cinema, the recent events in Paris, and the role that philosophy can play in helping us understand and act in this historic context, accompanied by film clips that will bring further dimensions to some of the discussion’s central themes. In addition, there is a Masterclass with Badiou, where conference participants will have an opportunity to further explore the intersections of film and philosophy.

Some of the questions that inform this conference pertain to the concepts and formations within film-philosophy relative to broader discourses and practices in the humanities and beyond. For example: What are the terms that film-philosophy deploys as it stands today? What are the stakes of film-philosophy that it asks of itself in terms of its own legitimization and what is expected of it by the broader discipline of cinema and media studies? What transformations and problems in cinema and media studies does film-philosophy respond to, interrogate, and/or (re)conceptualize?

We seek papers that:

  • historicize and (re)conceptualize the emergence of film-philosophy and/or problematize it as a discipline or approach;
  • situate film-philosophy relative to trends and developments in film and cultural theory, contemporary media studies, new media, and other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences;
  • define and interrogate the concepts of film-philosophy (such as those taken from, for example, phenomenology, deconstruction, or Marxism);
  • ask about the stakes of major contemporary philosophers (Badiou, Deleuze, Cavell, etc.) who engage with cinema as a philosophical model, a problematic field, and/or a set of texts and examples for philosophical speculation;
  • discuss film-philosophy’s stance relative to debates in contemporary developments in queer theory, critical race theory, postcolonial theory, disability studies, environmental studies, and/or animal studies; • enact film-philosophy in the engagement of cinematic texts and objects;
  • examine the relationship between the “filmic” (cinematic, visual, temporal, aesthetic) and the “textual” (discursive, written, etc.);
  • explore the politics of film-philosophy, such as the relationship between democracy and film (Badiou, Rancière, etc.) or cinematic ethics (Levinas, Nancy, etc.);
  • map out the contours and terrain of film-philosophy and world cinema(s) (global film-philosophy);
  • consider the relationship between film-philosophy and new trends in philosophy in general, including speculative realism, new materialism, anti-philosophy, and non-philosophy;
  • conceptualize cinematic ethics, metaphysics, ontology, and/or epistemology in light of recent developments in film-philosophy

We also welcome papers that deal with the work of contemporary film theorists who engage with intersections between film and philosophy; for example, Vivian Sobchack, Patricia Pisters, D.N. Rodowick, Noel Carroll, Joan Copjec, Laura Marks, Hito Steyerl, or Steven Shaviro. We also invite filmmakers and media practitioners to present and discuss their work in a film-philosophical context.

“Coming to Terms with Film-Philosophy” will be held in Toronto, Canada May 16-17, 2016.

Please send a 300 word abstract, brief bibliography, and bio (with institutional affiliation, if applicable) as email attachments to yorkfilmphilosophy@gmail.com by Friday, April 1, 2016. Notifications about acceptance or rejection of proposal will be sent on Monday, April 4.

Conference and Masterclass Registration Fees:

Conference Attendance: $100

Masterclass: $50

Students / Underemployed:

Conference Attendance: $50

Masterclass: $25

Special Event: Onstage Conversation with Alain Badiou

Monday, May 16 7:00pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox

Adult: $13

Student/Senior: $10.50

Organized by the graduate students of Cinema and Media Studies, York University, in partnership with TIFF.

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