2016 Early Audiovisual Theory Conference

“A hundred years of Film theory. Mu?nsterberg and beyond: Concepts, Applications, Perspectives”

29 June 2016 – 2 July 2016

Leipzig, Germany

Deadline: 15 November 2015

AREA: Media Theory Revisited

Audio-visual culture has always been accompanied with ­ and even shaped by ­ generalising ideas about its inherent characteristic and meaning. From the early days of film, intellectuals, practitioners and scholars have been discussing the inimitable properties or communalities of different media. It was not so long after Hugo Münsterberg published his book The Photoplay. A Psychological Study that scholars and critics from various European countries offered their theoretical ideas on film. In doing so, they focused on different aspects, including aesthetics, narrative possibilities, the relation of audio-visual images to specific socio-cultural and political contexts and their eventual effects.

This area investigates the role of media theory. It takes a fresh look at canonical theoretical works and looks at forgotten theorists, theoretical ideas and debates. Presentations may feature original analyses of individual texts or theorists’ works from a variety of angles. The area specifically welcomes papers that are based on primary sources (archival documents, contemporary journals, etc.) and/or the impact of theory. Proposals may include analyses of select theorists, the development of schools of thought, the dissemination of theory (e.g. in trade and specialist journals or academic writing), approaches to media social theory and ways to implement theory into practice. Topics of media theory not included in the above list are also welcome. International perspectives and comparative approaches are strongly encouraged.

Please submit your 200-word proposal by 15 November 2015


Or send it via email to the address below.

Area Chairs: Rüdiger Steinmetz, Fernando Ramos
Institute for Communications and Media Studies
University of Leipzig
Ritterstr. 26
04109 Leipzig

Panel proposals for up to three presenters are also welcome. Please note, however, that each presenter must submit his or her own paper proposal.

This area, comprising multiple panels, is a part of the 2016 conference on early audiovisual theory held at the University of Leipzig, Germany, and sponsored by the International Association for Media and History. Taking the publication of Hugo Münsterberg’s seminal study The Photoplay (1916) as a point of departure, the international conference will look at film and television theory. A century after the publication of Münsterberg’s book, the conference seeks to look at audiovisual media from a broad range of angles and disciplines. One of the keynote speakers will be Ian Jarvie.

The conference will host a ceremony to celebrate Münsterberg’s achievements, who began his career as a professor at the University of Leipzig before going to Harvard. For updates and other information about the upcoming meeting, see the conference website:

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