Call For Papers

Backward Glances 2022: Saturation

The Screen Cultures Graduate Student Conference
Department of Radio/Television/Film, Northwestern University
September 30th-October 1st, 2022, in person
Keynote Speakers: Professors Anna Kornbluh and Cáel M. Keegan
Submission Deadline: July 1, 2022

Backward Glances, Northwestern University’s biennial graduate student media and historiography conference, returns in 2022 to engage the concept of Saturation. Broadly defined as a particularly intense mediated experience or an inability to absorb additional material, saturation operates as a way of thinking about the excesses of representation in, and our encounters with, media both past and present.

From the 24/7 news cycle, to Zoom, to Peak TV, to TikTok, we live in an age of total media saturation. Drawing on this sense of ‘media overload,’ this year’s conference invokes saturation as a heuristic for theorizing and historicizing media past and present. How, for example, does the concept of saturation differently operate on aesthetic, narrative, and industrial levels? What does it mean when “no more can be added”? How does saturation as a property of the image “color” our encounters with media? And how might saturation help us understand historical shifts in screen media cultures?

We invite inventive explorations of media that embrace both the qualitative and quantitative ambiguities at work in the concept of saturation. Presentations may engage the theme of saturation broadly construed, including topics such as, but certainly not limited to:

  • Opulence
  • Excess
  • Serialities
  • Performance
  • Framing and containment
  • Immersive media
  • Intensities of image
  • Ecologies
  • Realism
  • Late capitalism
  • Color technologies & race
  • Phenomenology
  • Sensory experience

We invite scholarship from across disciplines and methodologies, backward-, forward-, and present-facing. For consideration, please submit a document that includes paper title and a 300-word abstract to by July 1, 2022. In the body of the submission email, please include a 100-word bio including your name and institutional affiliation. Please send your abstract as an email attachment in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format and do not include any identifying information in the file containing your abstract. Participants will be notified by mid-July.