Héritages et Constructions dans le Texte et l'Image


Les Enjeux des Études cinématographiques et audiovisuelles

 Call for Papers: Mise Au Point no 7

The Challenges of Film and Media Studies:
Theories, Methods, Ideologies, and Purposes

Philippe Bourdier
Jean-Albert Bron
Isabelle Le Corff

The curricula of film and media studies in various countries differ widely according to
the traditions and values that are at play in each country.

Media and film studies are disciplines that deal with several key questions. If we keep in mind only their objects, then they may legitimately draw from any discipline (law, economy, sociology, anthropology, psychology, history, philosophy etc.) and from a wide range of methods. However that creates the problem of delineating the boundaries around these disciplines: for example, the cinema has developed and evolved tremendously in relation to the various aspects of film distribution and marketing. Another example is the media: a vast amount of images and messages are found in different technologies yet all are classified as media. How do you define a field, which should have a more organized and logical approach? While in French junior high schools and high schools a variety of teaching methods are used in the curricula, the teaching and research at the universities clearly indicate their preference for a more precise approach. This requires organizing the discipline at both the introductory and experimental levels. Then, the question remains of how this organization can be studied while at the same time examining the underlying theories.

The universities rarely ever evoke the pedagogical aspects of these studies. Would certain disciplines or course contents be more easily transmitted to students than others? What are the obstacles in setting up an interdisciplinary approach at the secondary as well as at the university levels? In addition, other questions exist concerning the validity of the curriculum taught, how long certain theories in relation to others will last, the criteria of film critics’ analyses, and what role the film buff plays in these decisions? How do the competitive exams, whether they be exams to enter the film schools, or the disciplinary exams for teachers such as the CAPES or the Agregation, integrate these different dimensions? What is the purpose of their tests?

Thus, one aim of this journal among others is to produce an overview of the current state of the programs and methods which have been gathered together explicitly or implicitly in the official curricula found today in the secondary schools and universities in France and abroad. We would like not only the curricula to be questioned but also the theoretical connections, bases, and assumptions both social and ideological, which shed light on them to be examined. In addition, the practical dimension must also be questioned.

The contributors of this dossier of Mise au Point will try to answer some of these questions, not only from the point of view of what is going on today, which will allow us to clarify the present state of film and media studies, but also from a historical perspective. At the same time we will pay close attention to the evolution of the system and the discussions in France and in other countries. We also welcome comparative approaches.

We are particularly interested in papers concerning the following:

1. Access to films, their quality, their characteristics (the historical problems linked to the scenes, the formats, and the medium used). The theoretical approach to the legal questions of the right to quote or to use images in the teaching courses.
2. The question of the teaching of film and media studies in an economic and political context (the juncture where culture and artistic practices come together, the role of festivals and plans of action which bring the Ministries of Culture, of Education, and of Higher Learning together).
3. The ideologies that were at the basis of, and which are still, present when creating curriculum for film and media studies: conceptions of the culture, of the cinema, of the student, reference knowledge, difficulties and hesitations about the implementation of real interdisciplinary teaching.
4. The values and pedagogical practices: the choice of curricula and methods of teaching, their evolution, the development of certain theories to the detriment of others, the criteria for choosing authentic works, the influential moments, and the role of research as well as the impact of criticism.
5. The programs of the competitive exams: which contents? which goals? which criteria for evaluation?
6. The juncture between the socio-cultural practices the students are familiar with and those that film studies introduce: discourse, teaching methods, audio-visual documents.

Proposals must be submitted by 30 september 2013 either in French or in English to Philippe Bourdier (philippe.bourdier@univ-orleans.fr), Jean-Albert Bron (jbron@u-paris10.fr), and Isabelle Le Corff (cils@wanadoo.fr). The editorial committee of Mise au Point will examine these proposals. Those authors whose papers have been accepted must submit their final article by March 1, 2014. The submitted articles must not be the subject of publication in another journal.