[Marxism] CFP: The Logic of Cultural Boycott
t.ginsberg.1 at alumni.nyu.edu
Wed Jul 13 12:43:15 MDT 2011
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
"The Logic of Cultural Boycott"
Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) - Boston, MA - March 21-25, 2012
The concept of boycott has been theorized in many ways, inter alia as
a buyer's strike, a form of consumer resistance, a means of
non-violent political protest, and a mode of low-intensity
warfare. Perhaps the most famous, large-scale boycott in recent
historical memory is the international boycott of South Africa, which
effectively served to help dismantle and overturn the Apartheid
regime. Boycotts have also been implemented in support of union
struggles and in protest against breaches of consumer product
safety. And they have been deployed to pressure population
displacement, for instance by pre-state Zionists against Palestinian
labor in British Mandate Palestine.
Of pertinence to SCMS is the fact that the boycott of South Africa
entailed a prominent cultural aspect. Not only did the
anti-Apartheid movement target corporations such as IBM for their
significant business dealings with South Africa, but also
institutions of cultural production, including film and television
industries, their divisions and venues along with their subsidiaries,
affiliates, and associates, in protest against their ideological
and/or economic support for Apartheid.
The practice of cultural boycott has been directed quite vocally in
more recent years against the state of Israel. For various reasons
more controversial in the U.S. than was the anti-Apartheid boycott,
the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has accrued public
attention and support unprecedented in the history of the Palestinian
liberation struggle. Barely a week passes without at least one more
major show biz figure announcing her refusal to perform in Israel
unless at the very least it stops expanding its colonial settlements
in the Occupied Territories. In July 2011, Barbara Hammer, one of
the most important and influential lesbian/feminist filmmakers of all
time, declined a fellowship from an Israeli foundation for precisely
this reason. In 2009, several Canadian filmmakers, among them John
Greyson and Elle Flanders, challenged the Toronto International Film
Festival's "Spotlight on Tel Aviv" by threatening to pull their own
works from that festival.
What are the implications for U.S. filmmaking and for the field of
cinema and media studies of the BDS cultural boycott? Should film
and media scholars participate in this boycott, thus also joining the
BDS call for an academic boycott? Why or why not? What grounds and
criteria should be supplied in gauging and evaluating the
advisability and/or strategies and tactics of this particular boycott?
E-mail proposals for 10-minute position papers by August 25, 2011 to
<t.ginsberg.1 at alumni.nyu.edu>.
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