'The Blogger' Strikes Back

Read Intellect author John Berra's second guest blog for 'The Gothic Imagination'

'The next stop on this tour of American Independent Gothic is New York City. An urban metropolis that has been notable for its Gothic features since the Gothic Revival of 1830-1860, New York is the ideal location for American independent filmmakers who wish to position the moral lapses of their protagonists against an appropriate architectural backdrop of medieval churches, courthouses and libraries. Abel Ferrara is such a filmmaker, an uncompromising maverick whose sheer contempt for the system of mass production has made him an increasingly marginalised figure, even within the independent sector. Throughout his career, Ferrara has shown a preference for Catholic iconography, explicit sex and violence, and grim urban locations, all of which are usually shot after hours; these key lineaments are often wrapped up in an exploitation package as a means of initially luring investors and eventually appealing to cult audiences. The exploitation angle is certainly true of his earlier efforts, which include the notorious power-tool shocker The Driller Killer (1979) and the rape/revenge thriller Angel of Vengeance (1981), while even the comparatively commercial underworld drama Fear City (1984) revels in the sleaze of the strip club circuit as a retired boxer tries to trap the serial killer who has been murdering ladies of the night. In his 1995 study Gothic, Botting considers the evolution of the Gothic environment: ‘Gothic landscapes are desolate, alienating and full of menace. In the eighteenth century they were wild and mountainous locations. Later the modern city combined the natural and architectural components of Gothic grandeur and wildness, it’s dark, labyrinthine streets suggesting the violence and menace of Gothic castle and forest.’ This is a fair description of manner in which Ferrara utilises New York in much of his work, with the Gothicized setting serving to emphasise that his characters exist at the very edge of stability.'

Visit the blog and read the full entry

John Berra is author of Declarations of Independence: American Cinema and the Partiality of Independent Production and editor of the Directory of World Cinema: Japan and the Directory of World Cinema: American Independent.

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Berra 'The Blogger'

Intellect author and all round film guru John Berra will be guest blogging for the University of Stirling's 'The Gothic Imagination' throughout January.

Here's a snippet from John's first blog, 'American Independent Gothic: Near Dark (Kathryn Bigelow, 1987)'. To read more visit the blog online.

Greetings to all readers of The Gothic Imagination, I will be your Guest Blogger for January 2011. As much of my previous research has focussed on American independent cinema, these blog entries will provide a travelogue of what I will term American Independent Gothic, thereby examining the manner in which filmmakers operating outside of the Hollywood studio system have filtered elements of the Gothic through their respective regional visions of the United States. This means that each post will focus on a different film that is located in a certain geographical – or even psychological – region, from the dusty highways of the mid-West, to the bustling cities, to the trauma of the fractured mind. In keeping with other instances of the Gothic in national cinemas, some of these films fit relatively neatly into the horror genre, both conforming to and subverting traditional textual and inter-textual elements. However, others are less easy to define and serve to emphasise the existence of the Gothic in the everyday through an observational approach towards character and environment that is characteristic of independently produced American cinema.

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The Big Picture now available on Magcloud

As part of our ongoing effort to make The Big Picture accessible to new readers worldwide, the magazine is now hosted on Magcloud - a very nifty print on demand service helping the best new magazines (and some very established ones) to reach a wider audience than standard distribution and geographical limitations often allow.

Visitors to the site can preview the recent issue and opt to buy it as either a pdf download (for viewing on any mobile device) or, better still, a print copy.

This means that followers of The Big Picture from Los Angeles to Laos and all those in-between simply itching to get their hands on the latest issue in print form can now do so at the touch of a button.

Issue 12 - our 'Big Society' issue - will be available on the site from January 15th and we will be adding all past issues in the coming months.

To find out more simply visit us at Magcloud

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Conference update

Intellect is gearing up for this year’s 99th annual College Art Association conference in New York, New York.  We’re excited to participate in the world's largest international forum for professionals in the visual arts in a city known for artistic excellence.  6,000 artists, art historians, curators, educators, and enthusiasts will convene February 9–12, 2011 at the Hilton New York to discuss issues and innovations in the arts today.  Intellect’s visual arts portfolio will be on display so come please come by and check out our latest offerings!

From tomorrow Intellect's North American representative Amy Damutz will be attending the Modern Language Association Annual Convention 2011 in LA, California. The convention will begin on Thursday, 6 January, with preconvention workshops starting at 8:30 a.m. The convention ends on Sunday, 9 January, with the last sessions concluding at 3:00 p.m. Intellect's founder and Director Masoud Yazdani will also be on hand to answer questions, so if you are attending the conference please do drop by and take advantage of this great opportunity to meet the man behind Intellect.

We will also be sending a representative to this years MeCCSA conference, hosted on 12-14th January, 2011, by the Communication, Cultural and Media Studies Research Centre which is situated within the School of Media, Music and Performance at the University of Salford.
The conference is to be held at the award-winning theatre and arts complex The Lowry, at Salford Quays in the city of Salford. This is adjacent to MediaCityUK, where the BBC, the University of Salford, and other media and creative organisations have new facilities and buildings.

We very much look forward to seeing you at these and other events in 2011.

Read more Posted by James Campbell at 14:38 (0) comments
Call for papers - Journal of Arab and Muslim Media Research
New Media, Public Opinion & Democracy in the Arab & Muslim World


Satellite TV and the internet have transformed the media landscape in the
Arab and Muslim world. Although their development is a recent phenomenon,
new media have not only opened up new opportunities for journalism but
also empowered audiences and civil society organizations with
unprecedented platforms for ‘free’ expression and social activism. The
Wikileaks phenomenon is said to have empowered the public with a wealth of
secret information previously almost impossible to obtain about
governments in the Arab world. New technologies are also said to have
reinvigorated a sense of an ‘Arab transnational public sphere’ and a
‘pan-Arab market’; brought together the concerns of Arab audiences and
united a region geographically vast.

The aim of this special issue of the Journal of Arab and Muslim Media
is to develop and publish a timely collection of papers
representing current research in this area. Of particular interest are
papers that present empirical findings of fieldwork. Papers welcomed in
this special issue include, but are not necessarily confined to the
following topics:

- Blogging and bloggers as citizen journalists: are bloggers making a
social difference?
- Satellite TV and the internet as sites of resistance/alternative media
or sets of ‘censored national enclosures’
- E-campaigning and political/social groups
- Wikileaks, political corruption and the right to know
- How are activists/the youth interacting with platforms like ‘Youtube’,
‘Myspace’, ‘Flicker’, ‘Faithtube’, ‘Facebook’ and ‘Blogging’ to pursue
their objectives?
- The internet, development and civil society in the Arab and Muslim world
- Women bloggers and the mediation of women issues
- Youth subcultures and new media
- In the absence of real democracy in some parts of the Arab and Muslim
world is new media creating a new form of social/political capital:
- What functions are the internet and satellite TV playing in mobilizing
public opinion?

Manuscripts to be considered for publication should be submitted via
e-mail. Each manuscript should be no more than 8500 words in main text and
150 words in abstract. All submissions will be blind-refereed.
Please refer to the Submission Guidelines for the Journal of Arab and
Muslim Media Research
before you formally send your paper. Please make
sure that your paper includes the following: Title, name of the author,
affiliation, complete contact details, abstract, keywords, author’s bio,
main body, bibliography etc. The style referencing must follow the Harvard
system all the way through.

Deadline for submission of full papers: 15th March 2011

Please send your completed papers to:
Dr Noureddine Miladi (Editor)
School of Social Sciences, University of Northampton,
Park Campus, Northampton NN2 7AL, UK
Journal website:,id=148/

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