The recent earthquakes in Chile, Christchurch and Japan have left a host of powerful images in the minds and memories of millions of people around the world.  Film has always played a crucial role in the imagination of disaster.  From its earliest days, cinema has registered the impact of seismic events.  The aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake is recorded on film. In New Zealand, footage from the Napier earthquake of 1937 shows the destruction of the town. Hollywood even recast New Zealand in Green Dolphin Street (Saville, 1947) as the fictional setting for a special effects mega-quake and tsunami.

An earthquake is also a conceptual event of telluric proportions.  An emergent seismic consciousness, reflected in a number of contemporary films from Iran, Chile, Haiti, Japan, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Korea, the USA and New Zealand, has shaken to the core those solid and secure political, economic, ethical and ontological categories which ground the project of modernity in its current globalised form.  Perhaps the spate of earthquakes in 2010-11 can serve a similar function for our present geopolitical formation as the famous Lisbon earthquake of 1755 held for the age of Enlightenment.

The earthquake indicates a fissure, a rupture that forces us to reconsider our established notions of film history and criticism.  Faultlines, by definition, are located on the edges of tectonic plates.  Film history and theory too must confront the tectonic shift in focus away from the centre (Europe, North America) toward the periphery (the Southern Cone, the Pacific Rim, China, Central Asia and the Caucasus, the Mediterrean Basin and North Africa).

Papers are invited which address any of the following issues:  
•    fictional and non-fictional representation of earthquakes in film
•    narrative form, genre and the cinematic image
•    archival footage and digital witnessing
  (digital camera, phone, youtube, facebook etc)
•    social memory and history
•    modernity, film and ruins
•    heritage, home, exile
•    mourning, trauma and survival
•    disaster as media spectacle
•    alternative forms of film and media production, distribution and exhibition  
•    racial, ethnic and indigenous experience of natural disaster 
•    urban planning and renewal
•    disaster capitalism and compassion fatigue
•    local and national politics
•    international solidarity and community activism
•    banality, catastrophe and everyday life
•    the temporality of crisis, the event and emergency

Please submit an abstract of 250 words by February 6th, 2012, along with a short biography, to

Posted by Melanie at 11:24 (0) comments
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