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CFP for edited book ‘Film Festival Activism: Actors, Spectators, Social Change’

2013 July 10
by smonani

While the description below focuses on human rights, correspondence with the editors indicates a strong interest in festivals that also engage non-human rights.   I.e., they are interested in scholars considering film festivals that explore environmental issues pertain to both human and non-human rights.

Time frames:
Abstract of 500 words must be received by Monday 30th September, 2013
A short bio and publications to be included
Acceptance/ non-acceptance will be sent out by Monday 14th October, 2013
Proposal to publisher immediately after
Chapters of 5 500 – 6 000 words to be received by Friday 28th February, 2014


If we take as departure the idea that film festivals are knowledge-sites *
and* communal spaces that call forth a specific type of spectator, then we
can begin to ask questions about the particular spaces and spectators
created by activist/ human rights film festivals. As these sorts of
festivals negotiate a variety of discourses, most particularly film
festival and the social/ human rights issue that organises them
thematically, one of the most central discursive features is that which
centres on ?social change?. Through this idea[l] the spectator is called
forth as an active participant, the films are to act as motivators, and
discussions that usually follow film screenings are to expand on the issues
raised by the film and motivate further. In this way gazing at others?
troubles is expected to be more than a passive watching of trauma, but
involve an ethically and politically engaged spectator who will traverse
the world of the screen and that of material being through social action.
Although much has already been written about the mediating and distancing
effects of witnessing ?distant suffering?, in this volume we wish to
interrogate this idea as one that has productive elements but also quite
distinctly politico-cultural dimensions that, in the space of activist/
human rights film festivals, configures its viewing publics in quite
definite ways. (see attached for fuller description)

Contributors can consider the following topics as possibilities, but others
can be proposed:

– theoretical engagement with humanitarian spectatorship as it applies to
human rights/ activist film festivals
– human rights/ activist film festivals as discursive sites
– Critical engagement with the idea of ‘social change’ and what this means
for the spectator in a human rights/ activist film festival
– How does ‘the political’ enter into the construction of an active
spectator as filtered through human rights discourse?
– What are the political dimensions to be considered in the creation of the
human rights spectator that are different to other forms of activism? e.g.
the global/ internationalising dimension
– in what ways is human rights discourse being recreated differently in
different national contexts subverted, or modified?
– If film festival discourse relies on elements of cinephilia, how is this
present/ absent in human rights/ activist film festivals?
– Film festivals were originally established to subvert the dominance of
Hollywood and promote national cinemas, while human rights demand an
internationalising gaze; how do these apparently opposing imperatives
converge in a human rights film festival to encourage the spectator to
create social change?

– How is ‘the film act’ apparent in activist/ human rights film

Abstracts/ bio to be sent to:

Dr. Sonia Tascon

Dr. Tyson Wils

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