Recent decades have witnessed a significant critical reassessment of film theory, which was conceived historically as emanating from the West. Rather than understand theory as a procession of major works by mainly European and North American authors, scholars have extended exploration beyond the Euro-American axis. This expanded understanding of film theory is the starting point for our network. Our aim is to develop in a new and properly global direction a field that in our view still remains largely nationally or regionally bounded. Our approach relies on the conjunction of film- and text-based research to chart the generation, translation, and circulation of theory throughout different historical periods and locales.
The network includes colleagues from Algeria, Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Mexico, the UK, and the USA, who are leading experts in African, Asian, European, Latin American, and Soviet film theory. By connecting these scholars, we seek to broaden through widescale collaborative research the understanding of what theory is and where we find it. We also aim to envisage how theory might continue to circulate in the light of our decolonizing approach. Our network includes film practitioners, enabling us to pursue the expansion of film theory in conjunction with, rather than in opposition to, practice.
Our objectives are:
- to draw together different scholarly perspectives from around the world to develop genuinely transnational conceptualizations of film theory that seek to decolonize the field;
- to set the agenda for debates about the future global circulation of film theory;
- to create sustainable research links across the Global North and South;
- to develop collaborative research methods as well as teaching toolkits;
- to involve public audiences in our re-envisioning of film theory.
Our project is framed by three online network symposia on the sites, practices, and circulations of film theory; a series of in-person workshops at BFI Southbank involving members of the public who place a particular value on questions of decolonization; and a final hybrid conference to be held at King’s College London, 30-31st August 2024, involving network participants along with other delegates.