2010 Ecomedia Studies in Review
Ecomedia Studies has seen tremendous growth in 2010.
In January, media scholars gasped at the unprecedented global success of director James Cameron’s AVATAR, which opened in late December, 2009 in more than 100 countries on more than 10,000 theatrical screens. By February, the film had grossed more than $2.7 billion to become the highest earning film of all-time (even when adjusted for inflation). While some critics claim that the film’s success was entirely the result of 3D visual effects and Hollywood marketing, there is simply no denying that the film’s portrayal of resource exploitation and market-driven social injustice resonated with audiences around the world. The film’s reception can also be closely tied to the efforts of director James Cameron and star Sigourney Weaver who discussed the film’s environmentalist message at every possible turn, including interviews on MTV, Oprah, and “The View” along with visits to Canada’s oil tar sands, a dam projects in Brazil, and even to the US Congress where they presented testimony on Earth Day. Among scholars, of course, the word is still out. But start looking for special journal editions to hit library shelves in the coming months, including at least one Avatar themed edition of The Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture.
In March, at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference in Los Angeles, ecological and environmental concerns were the primary focus of at least five panels. Two panels specifically devoted to cinema and ecology brought the field’s leading scholars together. Ecomedia studies is poised to move into the mainstream of film and media scholarship. Expanding beyond cinema has been important this year as well as scholars have turned their attention to the material aspects of the internet and emerging media.
By summer’s end, three new anthologies had hit library and bookstore shelves: ECOSEE, CHINESE ECOCINEMA, and FRAMING THE WORLD. Each of these collections represents a major contribution to the field and will likely lead to the development of new courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. Along with these books, 2010 saw an outpouring of scholarly articles and conference presentations. Thanks to the efforts of hardworking editors and contributors, these anthologies are raising the visibility of ecomedia studies across the scholarly community and around the world. Ecomedia studies is is a truly global undertaking.
Please add your thoughts about key developments in the field.