Re: CFP: Queer Underground Cinema, 1950-1968

From: Ronald Gregg (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Apr 06 2008 - 15:10:35 PDT

Thanks, Chuck! R

On Apr 6, 2008, at 4:43 PM, Chuck Kleinhans wrote:

> Postwar Queer Underground Cinema, 1950-1968
> A Conference at Yale University, February 20-21, 2009
> Organized by the Yale Research Initiative on the History of
> Sexualities
> Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising (1963), Jack Smith’s Flaming
> Creatures (1963), and Andy Warhol’s Chelsea Girls (1966) are widely
> regarded as some of the most important and influential films of
> postwar underground cinema. But cinema studies has only recently
> begun to take seriously the fact that Anger, Smith, and Warhol were
> gay filmmakers whose films developed a queer aesthetic to explore
> questions of queer subjectivity and world-making. Moreover, the
> field has still barely registered the fact that they were not just
> brilliant auteurs working in isolation but were enmeshed in and
> influenced by a larger circle of mostly New York-based queer
> filmmakers, performers, writers, and artists.
> This conference seeks to map the contours and assess the
> significance of this wider cultural formation, which we call
> postwar queer underground cinema. This cinema largely developed in
> the 1950s and 60s in the ferment of downtown New York, the scene of
> complex interactions, collaborations, and conflicts between mostly
> gay or bisexual male filmmakers and critics and mostly heterosexual
> but resolutely anti-heteronormative female (and some male)
> filmmakers as well as between white, Puerto Rican, African
> American, bohemian, and gay cultures, communities, and artists. We
> hope to explore the work, interrelationships, and influence of
> Marie Menken, Willard Maas, Ben Moore, Ken Jacobs, Jonas Mekas,
> Barbara Rubin, José Rodriguez-Soltero, Gregory Markopoulos, Mario
> Montez, Naomi Levine, Shirley Clarke, Charles Boultenhouse, and
> Parker Tyler, among others, as well as Anger, Smith, and Warhol.
> Papers could focus on neglected individual filmmakers in this scene
> as well as on groups of filmmakers and other avant-garde artists
> with the purpose of charting and analyzing the social networks,
> collaborations, and conflicts that shaped the queer underground, as
> well as its broader urban, social, cultural, and political sources
> and ramifications. (Every paper should discuss more than a single
> filmmaker or film.) Papers might also address questions such as:
> Did queer underground filmmakers develop a distinctive queer
> aesthetic, and if so, what were its traits and what was its
> relationship to and influence on the broader avant-garde? How did
> underground films explore queer subjectivity, imagine queer
> futures, or destabilize the boundaries between hetero and homo—and
> what did it mean that such films were seen and discussed so widely
> by avant-garde audiences? What was the significance of the queer
> underground to gay politics and to the politics of the avant-garde
> as a whole in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly at a time when
> screening queer films such as Flaming Creatures or Chant d’Amour
> often provoked the police to shut down avant-garde cinema venues?
> What was the (social, aesthetic, political) relationship of the
> film underground to the queer underground theater and arts scenes,
> to the multiracial social worlds and cultures of postwar New York
> City, and to other regional avant-gardes in Europe, Asia, and the
> Americas?
> Confirmed participants include Callie Angel (Whitney Museum of
> Art), Douglas Crimp (Rochester), Jennifer Doyle (UC-Riverside), Tom
> Gunning (Chicago), Melissa Ragona (Carnegie-Mellon), and Ann
> Reynolds (UT-Austin), plus the playwright Robert Heide, filmmaker
> Ken Jacobs, and critic Amy Taubin.
> The conference will consist of both public sessions and closed
> working sessions. Public sessions will feature public lectures, a
> panel of artists and critics reflecting on the underground scene
> they witnessed, two evenings of performances, film screenings, and
> panel discussions, and an exhibition at the Beinecke Rare Books and
> Manuscripts Library displaying the library’s considerable holdings
> of papers bearing on the conference theme.
> The heart of the conference will consist of a series of closed
> working sessions at which a dozen or so participants discuss one
> another’s pre-circulated papers. Although presenters may show
> illustrative film clips and make introductory remarks, most time
> will be devoted to discussion--not a reading--of the papers. Our
> hope is that this format will produce a more focused, sustained,
> and productive conversation than public conferences often do.
> This call solicits proposals for papers for the closed sessions.
> Proposals should consist of (1) a 750-word précis of the paper,
> which clearly indicates how it speaks to the conference theme, and
> (2) a 1-2 page c.v. Proposals should be submitted as e-mail
> attachments to Ron Gregg email suppressed by May 15, 2008.
> Please also direct any inquiries about the conference to him.
> Presenters are expected to submit the complete 20-25 (double-
> spaced) page paper by December 1, 2008. The conference will cover
> the travel, lodging, and meals of presenters. We intend to produce
> an edited collection based on revised versions of the papers.
> The conference is being organized by George Chauncey (Yale), Ron
> Gregg (Yale), and Juan Suárez (Murcia) on behalf of the Yale
> Research Initiative on the History of Sexualities (YRIHS). It has
> received additional support from the Beinecke Rare Book and
> Manuscript Library, the Whitney Humanities Center, the Department
> of the History of Art, the World Performance Project, the
> Department of Theater Studies, and the Film Studies Program. Check
> the YRIHS’ web site for conference updates:
> __________________________________________________________________
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.