23rd Annual Film Studies Association of Canada Graduate Colloquium: Spectre

When and Where

Friday, January 29, 2021 9:00 am to Saturday, January 30, 2021 8:00 pm
Online Event


Dr. David Marriott (Penn State)


La version française ci-dessous

23rd Annual Film Studies Association of Canada Graduate Colloquium
Friday January 29 - Saturday January 30, 2021 (Virtual)

Keynote Speaker: Dr. David Marriott, Penn State University - "On Revolutionary Suicide"

The year 2020 has been shrouded by the spectre of crises, from the novel coronavirus, to ongoing racial injustice and colonial violence. The impact of this year has sent reverberations through the ways in which we gather, research, think, make and consume art, and indeed, how we survive. The spectral seems to be an apt mode for contemplating the conditions that hover over our times, and that continue to haunt the cinema and its study.

Film scholars have long tracked the ghostliness of the cinematic. For example, Katherine Groo asks us to consider the absence and decay of film and its celluloid im/materiality as a part of its ontology. In Zoological Surrealism, James Cahill attests to the power of film to reanimate the dead, while Canadian scholar Andrew Burke’s recent work looks at how contemporary Canadian film is haunted by traces of the 1970s. The onscreen body, too, persists as a phantasmagoric figure. For Maggie Hennefeld, the spectral encapsulates the transfiguring, miniaturising embodiment of early film comediennes, while Eliza Steinbock calls upon the “shimmer” to envision the illusory, astonishing visibility of both cinema and transgender embodiment. Cinema’s legacy of racial imagery also continues to haunt its image-making practices; in Black Skin, White Masks, Frantz Fanon famously wrote: “I can’t go to the movies without encountering myself. I wait for myself. Just before the film starts, I wait for myself,” a passage taken up by Kara Keeling in her article “In the Interval.” The spectre of film’s racial imaginary also cannot be separated from the continued presence of systemic anti-Black violence, a spectre that is all too real.

Finally, since Derrida conceptualized the neologism "hauntology" in his 1993 Spectres of Marx, many scholars, like those aforementioned and beyond the discipline of media studies, have engaged with spectres. Indeed, this conference also asks, in what ways are we haunted by the spectre of spectre? How is the spectral contained and rendered by filmic practices, or by film’s ontology? How does the spectral inhabit onscreen bodies and map across visions of marginalisation, terror, and violence? What is the cinema continuously haunted by, and how does this haunting rear its head?

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L’année 2020 a été enveloppée par le spectre de différentes crises, du coronavirus aux injustices raciales et violences coloniales. Cette année a des répercussions sur nos façons de nous rassembler, de faire de la recherche, de penser, de faire et de consommer de l’art, et bien sûr, sur nos façons de survivre. Le spectral semble être un mode adéquat pour contempler les conditions qui planent au-dessus de notre époque, et qui continuent à hanter le cinéma et son étude.

Les chercheurs en Études Cinématographiques ont depuis longtemps adressé l’aspect fantomatique du cinématographique. Par exemple, Katherine Groo nous amène à considérer l’absence et la désintégration des films ainsi que l’im/matérialité du celluloïd comme partie intégrante de leur ontologie. Dans Zoological Surrealism, James Cahill affirme le pouvoir filmique de réanimer les morts, alors que le travail récent du chercheur canadien Andrew Burke s’intéresse à la façon dont les films contemporains canadiens sont hantés par les traces des années 70. Le corps filmé persiste lui aussi en tant que figure fantasmagorique. Pour Maggie Hennefeld, le spectral encapsule la corporalité transfigurée et miniaturisée des comédiennes des films des premiers temps, alors que Eliza Steinbock abord la notion de « shimmer » pour explorer l’illusoire et stupéfiante visibilité de la corporalité à la fois cinématographique et transgenre. L’héritage d’imagerie raciale du cinéma continue également de hanter ses pratiques imageantes; on se souvient de ce passage, dans Peau Noire, Masques Blancs, où Frantz Fanon déclare : « Impossible d’aller au cinéma sans me rencontrer. Je m’attends. À l’entracte, juste avant le film, je m’attends », un passage que reprend Kara Keeling dans son article « In the interval. » Le spectre de l’imaginaire racial du cinéma ne peut également se séparer de la présence continuelle de la violence systémique anti-noire, un spectre beaucoup trop réel.

Finalement, depuis que Derrida a conceptualisé le néologisme « hantologie » dans son livre de 1993 Spectres de Marx, plusieurs chercheurs, autant ceux mentionnés qu’audelà des études médiatiques, ont engagé la notion de spectres. Ainsi, cette conférence demande également de quelle manière nous sommes hantés par le spectre du spectre? Comment le spectral est-il contenu et rendu par l’ontologie et les pratiques filmiques? Comment est-ce que le spectral habite les corps filmés, et comment est-ce qu’il cartographie au travers des imageries de marginalisation, de terreur et de violence? De quoi le cinéma est-il constamment hanté, et quelles sont les nouvelles actualisations de cette hantise?

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FSAC/CSGSU Grad Colloquium Schedule
(**all times are in ET**)

Day One:
Zoom ID: 831 8161 4061
Passcode: spectre21

Day Two:
Zoom ID: 857 1310 6724
Passcode: spectre21

Friday, January 29 -------

6:00 - 6:15 pm       Welcome

6:15 - 8:00 pm       Keynote - Dr. David Marriott (Penn State University)- “On Revolutionary Suicide”

Saturday, January 30 -------

9:00 - 9:30 am        Welcome

9:30 - 10:45 am    Panel I: Dead, Alive (Moderator: Erin Mick, University of Toronto)

Caitlyn Dubé (University of Western Ontario) - “Barnaby’s Rhymes for Young Ghouls: Specters, Conjurers and Indigenous Visibility”

Nadia Hussein (University of Pittsburgh) - “Making Your Own Story: The Hauntology of Historicity and the Radical Potential of Black Guerilla Expressionism”

Andrew Lee (University of Toronto) - “Apocalypse Again and Again, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Global Warming”

Stephen Woo (Brown University) - “Reenacting Invasión: Documenting the 1989 US Invasion of Panama through Bodily Memory”

11:00 - 12:00pm     Panel II: Sound and Spirits (Moderator: Ganga Rudraiah, University of Toronto)

Matthew Ari Elfenbein (Florida Atlantic University) - “The Musical Body: Digital Ghosts and Violence”

Andi Gilker (University of Toronto) - “Truck You,” an excerpt from “Whisper to a Scream: Altered States and Sonic Affect in Twin Peaks: The Return (2017)”

Sreemoyee Kar (Jadavpur University) - “Sound Summoning the Specter in Cinema: A Critical Reflection on the Political Use of Sound and Music in Ritwik Ghatak’s Partition Trilogy.”

12:15 - 1:15pm        Panel III: Presences of the Past (Moderator: Devin Gibbs, University of Toronto)

Katie Kirkland (Yale University) - “Lumumba: Death of a Prophet and the Black Holes of Documentary”

Dhvani Ramanujam (Ryerson University) - “Programming Solidarity: Unpacking the Decolonial Potential of the In Visible Colours Festival (1989)”

Amanda Ann-Min Wong (University of Toronto) - “Material Memories and Dispossession: Exploring Representations of the Migrant Woman's Archive"

1:15 - 2:15pm         LUNCH BREAK

2:15 - 3:30pm        Panel IV: Technological Shadows (Moderator: Morgan Harper, University of Toronto)

Cole Armitage (University of Toronto) - “Javascript Ghost: The Uncanny Ontology of The Bongcheon-Dong Ghost”

Che Gossett (Rutgers University) - “The Abolition Machine: Philosophy of Technology, the Specter of the Slave and the Techno-Aesthetics of Blackness”

Michael Stringer (University of British Columbia) - “‘For the Bible Tells Me So’: Cultic Behaviour and Philosophical Consequence in BioShock”

Chris Wei (University of Iowa) - “‘We’re Bringing These Guys Back to Life’: The Necromantic Ventriloquism of the Cinematic Apparatus”

3:45 - 5:00pm     Panel V: Pieces and Places Possessed (Moderator: Kevin Chabot, University of Toronto)

Annie Berman (Columbia University)  - “Excavating the Home: Objects of Queer Domesticity as ‘Radioactive Fossils’ in Anthony Chidiac’s Room For A Man (2017)”

Jenisha Borah (University of Chicago) - “Intimate Cartographies: Memories of a Theatre”

Zeynep Kartal (Concordia University) - “Haunted Text(iles): Spectral Fabrics and Sapphic Sartorial Eroticism”

Eddy Wang (University of Toronto) - “Projections of Eros, The Bittersweet: Reflections on Love, Ghosts and Cinema”



University of Toronto, Cinema Studies Institute, Film Studies Association of Canada (FSAC) / l’Association canadienne d’études cinématographiques (ACÉC)