Call for Paper Conference on “The Planetary Turn and the Geopolitics of Time: Cinematic Reimaginations in a Time of Climate Crisis”
  • Keynote Speaker: Tiago de Luca (University of Warwick)
  • Date of Conference: Friday 1 & Saturday 2 November 2024
  • Venue: National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan
  • Organized by: Song Hwee Lim, Principal Investigator of the collaborative project
  • Funded by: Yushan Fellow Program, Ministry of Education, Taiwan
What does it mean – and take – to imagine the relationship between geopolitics and cinema in planetary terms? In Planetary Cinema: Film, Media and the Earth, Tiago de Luca notes that to speak of the world as a planet is also “to picture it as a physical entity, but as a rounded, solid object floating in outer space alongside other celestial bodies.” By situating our world as one tiny globe in infinite space, does it help us break free of the shackles of the nation-state to rescale geopolitics as matters that affect all human and non-human entities – and elements – existing on and surrounding this planet? Moreover, how does this rescaling, in turn, impinge upon our reimagination of cinema? If categories such as “global,” “world,” “international,” and “transnational” as conjoined with the term “cinema” tend to obsess over networks of production, distribution, and consumption, to what extent does the notion of planetary cinema point us to other concerns, from the elemental and the climatic (Furuhata) to the oceanic (Eshun) and the indigenous (Pratt)?
Alongside the geographical rescaling in planetary turn, how can also we consider the temporal dimension of the planet and of geopolitics? In The Climate of History in a Planetary Age, Dipesh Chakrabarty suggests that as humans we presently live in two different kinds of “now-time” simultaneously: “the ‘now’ of human history has become entangled with the long ‘now’ of geological and biological timescales, something that has never happened before in the history of humanity.” The climate crisis illustrates that it pays no respect to geographical boundaries but rather gives rise to new kinds of geopolitical tensions, climate refugees being one prominent example. As Rob Nixon rightly asks in Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor: “How do we bring home – and bring emotionally to life – threats that take time to wreak their havoc, threats that never materialize in one spectacular, explosive, cinematic scene?” The notion of the cinematic, however, is certainly not limited to the spectacular. Recent trends such as slow cinema and ecocinema reveal that the cinematic can take the shapes of stillness, silence, and slowness to sculpt durations of time that serve as reminders of temporalities that may last for as long as the planet. Moreover, we must not disregard the material footprints that cinema has left on the planet (Bozak); thus, we must examine the impact that even digital technologies have upon the environment (Cubitt) and, indeed, trace the geology of media itself (Parikka).
This conference invites contributions on any topic that engages with aspects of the planetary through the relationship between geopolitics and cinema (broadly defined to include all audio-visual forms). Abstracts of 250 words and a short bio of 50 words can be sent to Ms. Sherry Lai at for consideration before 31 July 2024. Scholars whose abstracts have been selected will be notified by 15 August 2024. The language of the conference will be English. We welcome both established and early-career academics to take part. No funding for travel or accommodation is available for participants.
Selected bibliography
  • Bozak, Nadia (2012) The Cinematic Footprint: Lights, Camera, Natural Resources.New Brunswick, New Jersey, and London: Rutgers University Press.
  • Chakrabarty, Dipesh (2021) The Climate of History in a Planetary Age. Chicago and London:University of Chicago Press.
  • Cubitt, Sean (2017) Finite Media: Environmental Implications of Digital Technologies Durham and London: Duke University Press.
  • de Luca, Tiago (2021) Planetary Cinema: Film, Media and the Earth. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
  • Eshun, Ekow (2021) “A Liquid Africa: Fluidity as Practice and Aesthetics in Diasporadical Trilogía.” liquid blackness 5 (1): 75–88.
  • Furuhata, Yuriko (2022) Climatic Media: Transpacific Experiments in Atmospheric Control. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
  • Nixon, Rob (2011) Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England: Harvard University Press.
  • Parikka, Jussi (2015). A Geology of Media. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Pratt, Mary Louise (2022) Planetary Longings. Durham and London: Duke University Press.
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