This week marks what would’ve been a vibrant meeting in Denver for the 2020 SCMS annual conference. A gathering that is always a highlight of my year, this is where ideas are hatched, shared, and celebrated; where visions for the future of the discipline are discussed and deliberated; and where people meet in a kindred spirit of scholarship and community. While I am disappointed to miss opportunities for creative encounters and good conversations, I am eager to share with you some new publications and recent highlights from the University of California Press’s Film and Media Studies list.
Gregory Zinman’s book Making Images Move: Handmade Cinema and the Other Arts is a visual tour de force that explores how moving-image artists who worked in experimental film pushed the medium toward abstraction through a number of unconventional filmmaking practices.
Thomas Stubblefield’s Drone Art: The Everywhere War as Medium is a groundbreaking study of the role of drones in contemporary visual culture, and this emerging genre’s historical lineage and political aspiration.
Jose Capino’s Martial Law Melodrama: Lino Brocka’s Cinema Politics is a major critical intervention into the Filipino filmmaker’s career and oeuvre, offering a timely lesson about popular cinema’s vital role in the struggle for democracy.
Peter Limbrick’s Arab Modernism as World Cinema: The Films of Moumen Smihi offers new ways for thinking about world cinema and modernism in the Middle East and North Africa, and about Arab cinema in the world.
Tom Rice’s Films for the Colonies: Cinema and the Preservation of the British Empire highlights the integral role of film in managing and maintaining a rapidly changing Empire and offers a compelling and far-reaching account of the media, propaganda, and the legacies of colonialism.
Christina Klein’s Cold War Cosmopolitanism: Period Styles in 1950s Korean Cinema combines nuanced readings of Han Hyung-mo’s sophisticated style with careful attention to key issues of modernity—such as feminism, cosmopolitanism, and consumerism. The online version of this book is freely available at www.luminosoa.org.
Kris Fallon’s Where Truth Lies: Digital Culture and Documentary Media after 9/11 is a boldly original work that looks at how the documentary impulse has shifted in the digital age. The online version of this book is freely available at www.luminosoa.org.
I look forward to seeing you next year in Chicago, with some of these forthcoming titles:
Samantha Sheppard’s Sporting Blackness: Race, Embodiment, and Critical Muscle Memory on Screen explores what it means to embody, perform, play out, and contest blackness by representations of Black athletes on screen.
In the Studio: Visual Creation and Its Material Environments, edited by Brian R. Jacobson, provides new insights into moving-image culture by focusing on the sites of artistic creation and physical labor—these worlds built to build worlds.
Haidee Wasson’s Everyday Movies: Portable Film Projectors and the Transformation of American Culture is a sweeping and groundbreaking study that reorients the history of cinema away from the movie theater’s magic, illustrating the remarkable persistence and proliferation of devices that fundamentally rejected the sleek, highly professionalized film show and allowed for those that were accessible, affordable, programmable, and used in everyday life.
If you were planning to drop by the exhibit hall and pitch your own book, I’d love to hear from you. You can find our submission guidelines here.