Call For Papers

Backward Glances 2017: Mediating Resistance

The Screen Cultures Graduate Student Conference
Department of Radio/Television/Film, Northwestern University
September 29 & 30, 2017
Application Deadline: June 15, 2017

In our tumultuous political landscape of “fake news” and reality TV presidents, the urgency of critically engaged media scholarship has never been greater. At a time in which many are experiencing a sense of traumatic upheaval, such work has the potential not only to enlighten the workings of media in our present moment, but to trace the history of media’s relationship to movements of resistance, rebellion, and radical change.

To this end, the theme of this year’s Backward Glances, Northwestern’s biennial graduate student media and historiography conference, is Mediating Resistance. We invite scholars to explore the role of resistance in media as well as the role of media in resistance, in historical and contemporary contexts.

Resistance manifests in forms ranging from political and activist content to formal and aesthetic innovation. These multiple inflections of resistance inform a number of interrelated questions we aim to address: What role do media play in shifting norms, broadening access to discourse, or even overthrowing regimes? How have marginalized communities used media to resist violence or imagine alternative modes of being? Alternately, how have hegemonic institutions used media to instigate violence or impose constructions of reality? In what ways are media implicated in the deepening of cultural divisions and the forms of social or political resistance they engender? As scholars, how might we engage resistant methodologies? What constitutes a “resistant reading” of a media text? What types of formal or aesthetic innovations resist norms of media-making or media consumption?

Further topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Alternative archives
  • Media literacy and pedagogy
  • (Re)appropriation of media texts
  • Resistant spectatorship practices
  • Feminist, queer, and transgender media
  • Racial difference, racialized identities, and racism
  • Avant-garde movements
  • Postcolonial, revolutionary, and state media
  • Protest music
  • Taste and respectability politics
  • Circuit-bending
  • Affect and embodiment
  • Conspiracy theories
  • Media activism/hacktivism/slacktivism
  • Political campaigns
  • Crowdfunding, crowdsourcing

We invite scholarship from a broad range of disciplinary approaches, such as gender and sexuality studies; critical race studies; game studies; new media studies; postcolonial studies; comparative literature; historiography; film and television studies; disability studies; communications; and performance studies. Northwestern faculty will serve as respondents for graduate student panels.

Please send an abstract (up to 300 words) to by June 15, 2017. Participants will be notified by mid-July.