Abstract submission deadline: May 31, 2007
Conference date: November 9-10, 2007
Place: Center for African Studies
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
The African film conference in Urbana-Champaign will explore how an appreciation of films as mode of expression and form can be combined with an understanding of their content. Cinema has a more pronounced public dimension than some of the other arts; it creates an audience and depends on it for its survival, and filmmaking itself can be situated within the history, economy, politics, and broader cultural trends of postcolonial Africa. The conference will aim to foster a dialogue between film scholars, critics, and the social science interpreters, users, and enthusiasts of African films, and will try to achieve, among other things, a greater sensibility for film as a medium among the latter. We seek abstracts from scholars and writers interested in participating in this project.
We invite contributions on thematic and stylistic development in African filmmaking and on the way the films reflect and feed upon urban popular culture. A subset of related themes involve the connections to international film making styles or to the ethnographic and documentary film traditions, including considerations of emerging regional and national styles within Africa. We would like to see sober and carefully documented studies of continuity with older African verbal, dramatic, and visual arts, or of the emergence in film of new expressive manners breaking away from them. Film music and soundtracks, the use of traditional and popular musical genres in the films, the influence of international film scores, and a documentation of the impetus that films give to national musical composition could enrich our reflection on modern Africa. Who the domestic audiences of these films are, the reactions of these audiences to the films, and the training and careers of African directors and actors can as well bear more sustained attention. Of particular interest to us are the popular film and video industries on which relatively little gets written, for example the one in Nigeria. Finally, our understanding of the subject matter and the style of African films can be deepened by an understanding of the broader political economy of the African film industries, the role of public and private financing from home and abroad, the share in revenue of domestic and export markets, the initiatives for co-production or the sharing of post-production facilities, among African countries and between them and the countries of the north.
Please send abstracts of 250-300 words to either one of us, by e-mail or by post.
Department of Anthropology
University of Illinois
607 S. Mathews Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801
Department of History
University of Chicago
Pick Hall 214
5828 S. University Avenue
Chicago IL 60637
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