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Transtemporal Precarity in Socialist and Post-Socialist Cinemas in Central and Eastern Europe | Call for Papers

Ausschreibende Einrichtung

Columbia University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, DEFA Film Library


Filmwissenschaft Geschichtswissenschaft


54th Annual ASEEES Convention, October 13-14/ November 10-13, 2022

Transtemporal Precarity in Socialist and Post-Socialist Cinemas in Central and Eastern Europe

“Precarity” as an analytical concept is increasingly finding its place within Central and Eastern European cinema studies. Temenuga Trifonowa, Ewa Mazierska, Elzbieta Ostrowska, Randall Hale and others have productively explored the precarization of the (post-socialist) neoliberal subject in cinema. There is also a growing body of scholarship (Hester Baer, Faye Stewart and Muriel Cormican to name but a few) that specifically consider the precarity of the last decade of European socialism and its resonances with our current neoliberal moment in order to highlight emerging neoliberal trends under socialism. The overlaps between the two periods in Central and Eastern European societies are clear: economic insecurity, social instability, a loss of future, a mood of uncertainty, self-sabotaging attachments to fantasies of a good life. This scholarship reminds us that, despite its typical associations with neoliberal capitalism, “precarity” is a term with broad applicability: a transtemporal concept, locatable in any society, brought to light (or given form!) in myriad cinematic works.

Given its broad applicability, ‘precarity’ can also be a tool for bringing together cinematic works from (radically) different contexts, both culturally and temporally. Our panel invites participant to investigate precarity through its ‘transtemporality’: to explore (unexpected) moments of resonance or convergence – animated by our heightened attunement to precarity in the here and now - between temporally disparate films from the socialist past and/or the post-socialist present. Our goal is not, however, to suggest that all precarity is the same. We hope that, through these comparisons, we can tease out the overlaps as well as crucial, fundamental differences of precarities on display in the diverse cinemas of Central Europe.

Questions we seek to explore in this panel are: Can comparisons bring to light hitherto unseen dimensions of visual texts regarding regimes of affective, physical and material precarities? Can such comparisons draw out more acute understandings of narrative and visual strategies which enact and/or highlight precarities? How might such pairings reflect back upon our present moment, our attentions and investments as viewers and scholars?

Graduate students and early career scholars are encouraged to apply. Papers should discuss at least two texts through the lens of transtemporality. We welcome proposals that can address, but are in no way restricted to the following topics:

  • Visual/narrative strategies for representing / performing precarity
  • Precarious modes of storytelling and narrating
  • Precarity as mood or atmosphere
  • Affective and emotional precarities
  • Transtemporal precarities
  • Social and affective fragility

Please submit a 300-word abstract and a short CV by February 20, 2022 to Thomas Preston (Columbia University, and Mariana Ivanova (UMass Amherst/ DEFA Film Library,

Weitere Angaben

Thomas Preston, Mariana Ivanova


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