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Eco-criticism at SCMS 2013

2013 March 25
by Shared by Steve Rust

By Hunter Vaughan, Oakland University

This year’s Society of Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) conference in Chicago had more representation from the eco-criticism sector than in previous years, no doubt because the world is coming to an end soon and all because of human ruination of or ecosystem!!  There were at least three panels entirely devoted to issues of environmentalism, sustainability, and natural resources in film and other visual media.  While some of these further developed the growing scholarship analyzing how environmental issues are represented in films, others explored new horizons of industry studies, production cultures, and multimedia analysis. Congrats and props to everyone who participated, it was a great showing and an excellent conference!

Here is a breakdown of the three panels, should you be interested in pursuing the topics or scholars further:


Eco-Criticism and the Image: Visual Culture through a Green Lens, Part I

Chair: Hunter Vaughan (Oakland University)

Hunter Vaughan (Oakland University), “500,000 Kilowatts of Stardust: an Eco-critical      Approach to Production, Representation, and Discourse in Singin’ in the Rain”

Kiu-wai Chu (University of Hong Kong), “Beyond Human World: Eco-cosmospolitanism in Global Art Cinema”

Pat Brereton (Dublin City University), “Environmental Ethics and Film”

Heather Houser (University of Texas, Austin), “Aerial Aesthetics in Environmental Visualizations”


Eco-criticism and the Image: Visual Culture through a Green Lens, Part II

Chair: Mario Trono (Mount Royal University)

Christopher Pavsek (Simon Fraser University), “John Smith’s The Kiss: Nature De-Natured”

Mario Trono (Mount Royal University), “The Ecological Blindspot in Ari Folman’s Waltz With Bashir”

Michelle Yates (Columbia College Chicago), “‘Stay the Course’: Consumerism, Environmentalism, and WALL-E’s Edenic Recovery Narrative”

James Wicks (Point Loma Nazarene University), “Love in the Time of Industrialization: Nature in Li Hanxiang’s The Winter”


Mediating Oil: Petroleum in North American Narrative Cinema

Chair: Ila Tyagi (Columbia University)

Katrina Boyd (University of Oklahoma), “‘Four Pictures in One’: Conflicting Discourses in Boom Town and Tulsa”

Chuck Jackson (University of Houston), “Gas Pumps, Visible Flows, and the Things of Emergency in 1960s U.S. Horror Film”

Kerry McArthur (University of Calgary), “Masculinity, Machismo, and the Oil Sands of Northern Alberta: 21st-Century Representations of Canada’s Oil Fields Worker in FUBAR II”

Ila Tyagi (Columbia University), “Oil, Sweat, and Fears: Imaging the Body in American Petrocinema”

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