Call for Papers

Border Visions: Borderlands and Film

A Joint Conference of Central Connecticut State University
and the Literature/Film Association
New Britain, Connecticut
October 12-14, 2011

The shifting boundaries between languages and national and ethnic identities in the late 20th and early 21st century are changing the notion of borders around the world, as borderland areas become places of hybridity, cultural transfer and exchange, but sometimes also arenas of violent conflict and segregation. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the resulting end of the Cold War, the expansion of the European Union, and the migratory movements across the continent have led to both peaceful and violent border negotiations and the attempted definition of a “New Europe.” With the end of the Cold War, the notion of the “Americas” has been changing, as well, driven by an American foreign policy dominated by border politics, especially towards Mexico and the southern borders. In Spain, the transfers on the borders to North Africa are an enduring topic, as are the border disputes in South Asia and the Middle East. While land borders are erased and redrawn by social and political realitie!
s, conceptual borders are also challenged by the proliferation of the Internet and new technologies while, at the same time, the new digital divide causes new barriers to emerge.

We would like to invite contributions that address the ways in which border conflicts and their resolutions, as well as mediations of different kinds in the borderlands, are reflected in the medium of film. What are the newly imagined and real communities that are being shaped by border politics and how do films address the changing geographical, economic, ethnic, and cultural realities? What images of borderlands emerge from their filmic representations? How do these images influence the audiences and shape an understanding of borderlands among viewers not familiar with the local specifics? How do the filmmakers use the geographical borderlands as a metaphor to comment on other borders and boundaries: narrative, linguistic, or epistemological?

Our Conference proposes to be a space for debating how different communities form senses of borderlands originating from places of knowledge, politics, art, memory, and lived experience, and how these senses contribute to a changing global community. While the European borderlands are one of the main focal points of the Conference, we also welcome submissions that address borders between non-European countries (e.g. North/South borderlands in Vietnam, the Korean border, the US/Canada borderlands, the US/Mexican frontera, Afro-Arabic borders, border conflicts in Israel and the Middle East, etc.). We encourage submissions on both fiction and non-fiction films and on different genres or film movements.

Possible Subthemes of the Conference:

  • Real/imaginary borders
  • Narratives crossing the borders between literature and film
  • Language barriers and negotiations
  • Adaptations across national, cultural, or linguistic borders
  • Modernity versus traditional societies
  • Gender on the borderlands
  • Dissolution of borders
  • Anxiety about intrusion/Borderlands in horror narratives
  • Violation of borders
  • Visions of border zones, enclosed areas, no man’s land
  • New technologies and the digital divide

We invite scholars to submit 250-300 word abstracts for individual presentations (20 minutes) that address any of the proposed themes of the Conference. Abstracts, along with university affiliation, contact information and a short biography should be sent to Cynthia Miller (cymiller AT for LFA consideration, or Jakub Kazecki (kazeckijak AT  for CCSU consideration, by April 30, 2011.

The Joint Conference is organized by Central Connecticut State University and the Literature/Film Association, and hosted by the Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT.

Conference keynote speakers:

  • M.B.B. Biskupski, Stanislaus A. Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish and Polish American Studies at Central Connecticut State University published books and articles on Poland and international politics,1914-39, American cinema and Poland, and the cinematic portrayal of Poland and Poles in the Holocaust. His recent publications include Hollywood’s War with Poland, 1939-45 (2009),The Origins of Modern Polish Democracy (2009), and The United States and the Rebirth of Poland, 1914-1918 (2010).
  • Laurence Raw, Department of English, Baskent University, Ankara, Turkey, is a leading specialist in the field of adaptation and/or cross-cultural studies. His recent books are Adapting Henry James to the Screen: Gender, Fiction and Film (2006), Adapting Nathaniel Hawthorne to the Screen: Forging New Worlds (2008), and the Ridley Scott Encyclopedia (2009). He co-edited (with Jim Welsh and Dennis Cutchins), two volumes on teaching adaptations, The Pedagogy of Adaptation and Redefining Adaptation Studies (both 2010).

Film screenings will accompany the Conference, possibly including the award-winning film Sin Nombre by Cary Joji Fukunaga (2009).

Conference organizing committee (CCSU): Matthew Ciscel, Jakub Kazecki, and Karen Ritzenhoff.
Literature/Film Association conference committee: Cindy Miller, Laurence Raw, and Jim Welsh.
Conference Website:

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