Mediating Democracy: Contemporary Politics in Film and Media

Event Date: Thursday, February 11 (All day) to Friday, February 12 (All day)
Mediating Democracy Contemporary Politics in Film and Media


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Dear Cinema Community, 

Please join us for our annual Cinema Studies Graduate Conference - Mediating Democracy: Contemporary Politics in Film and Media.” The conference will take place February 11 and 12.  

We are honored to have Ellen C. Scott, Associate Professor at UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television as our keynote speaker. Ellen Scott  specializes in media history, African American cultural history, film and media theory, American film history, sound theory, the history of censorship and cultural studies. She is the author of Cinema Civil Rights: Regulation, Repression, and Race in the Classical Hollywood Era - an important text that remains highly pertinent today when considering the complex relationships between race and media throughout history. 

To take full advantage of the virtual mode, this conference takes a deliberately internationalist approach, featuring scholars that cover a wide range of important topics from all over the world. By approaching these questions from a global perspective, this event aims to broaden views on the ways in which democracy is mediated. To view the full program and register for the event, please visit 

We hope to see you there! 

Thank you, 

Cinema Studies Graduate Student Association 

Tatiana Anoushian 

Jessica De Leon 

Ailish Elzy 

Travis Svensson 

John Vu 


SFSU 22nd Annual Grad Conference

Mediating Democracy: Contemporary Politics in Film & Media

February 11 & 12, 2021


Day 1, February 11:

11:00 a.m. – opening remarks

11:10 a.m.: Framing World History Through Cinema

11:10-11:30 a.m. - Jonathan Mackris, UC Berkeley

                “The Adventures of Mr. Bolshevik in the Land of the West; or, Early American Film Adaptations of October”

11:30-11:50 a.m. - Anne Wooten, University of Illinois, Chicago

                “Aufklärungsfilm: Filmmakers’ Attempt to Mediate Hygiene & the Backlash of Misinformation”

11:50-12:10 p.m. - Sara Friedman, UC Berkeley

                “Revisiting the Beginning of German Democracy: Anders als die Andern’s Reconstructions”

Q&A: 12:10-12:25 p.m.

Moderator: Prof. Steve Choe


1:30 pm: Negotiating Democracy Through Genre: Case Studies

1:30-1:50 p.m. - Felipe Gonzalez Silva, University of Florida

                “Point of View and Audiovisual (Un)balance in Roma

1:50-2:10 p.m. - Kevin McKenna, University of Florida

                “An Aesthetic of Anxiety: Neoliberalism (Meek’s Cutoff and Neo-neorealism in the Wake of an Economic Crisis)”

2:10-2:30 p.m. – Dr. Michel Cartier, Humboldt State University

                “Magical Realism in Contemporary Cinema: The Crossing Praxis of ‘Re-Imagination and ‘What Democracy Could Look Like’”

Q&A: 2:30-2:45 p.m.

Moderator: Prof. Randy Rutsky

3 p.m.: Activism and the Politics of “the Filmmaker” 

3:00-3:20 p.m. - Michael Flanagan, University of North Texas

                “Accountability and Allyship in Documentary Media”

3:20-3:40 p.m. - Khurram Sheikh, Indiana University Bloomington

                “Art & Activism: Pakistani Filmmakers at Multiple Site of Film Festival Circuit”

3:40-4:00 p.m. - Bryce Patton, University of Florida

                “Documentary and Narrative Cinema Blurred: Ken Loach and the Filmmaker as Activist”

4:00-4:20 p.m. - Yuqi Zhang, Hong Kong Baptist University

                “Hong Kong’s Battle on Screen: Taking Back The Legislature 佔領立法會(2020) and Inside The Red Brick Wall 理大圍城 (2020)”

Q&A: 4:20-4:30 p.m.

Moderator: Prof. Elizabeth Ramirez Soto



Day 2, February 12:

10:00 a.m. – opening remarks

Digital Media and Democracy

10:10-10:30 a.m. - Marilia Kaisar, UC Santa Cruz

                “Augmenting Democracy: Smartphones in the Streets”

10:30-10:50 a.m. - LaRisa Anderson, University of Texas, Austin

                “Before I Let Go: How Black Vloggers Imagine Black Futures for Their Children”

10:50-11:10 a.m. - Ziyang Li, UC San Diego

                “Towards a Digital Biocitizen-body: Livestreaming, State Strategies, and Body Politics in China’s Pandemic-related Projects”

11:10-11:30 a.m. - Birdy Hong, San Francisco State University

                “Jamming with Cultures in the Spectacle”

Q&A: 11:30-11:45 a.m.

Moderator: Prof. Johnny Symons

1 p.m.: Archives, Memory, and Trauma

1:00 -1:20 p.m. - Narmeen Ijaz, Indiana University Bloomington

                “Politics of Representation in Transnational Documentary Practices: Use of Archival Footage in BBC’s Secret Pakistan

1:20-1:40 p.m. - Soha Saghazadeh, UC Santa Barbara

                “غلط_کردید_اشتباه_کردید#: mourning through the past national traumas”

1:40 p.m. -2:00 p.m. - Jordan Adler, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

                “Virtue in Virtuosity: How A Canadian Drama’s Long Takes Breaks Open the Traumas and Tensions of Indigenous Life”

2:00-2:20p.m. - Christine Vicera, University of Hong Kong


Q&A: 2:20-2:35 p.m.

Moderator: Prof. Aaron Kerner

3p.m. – Keynote Address

3:00-3:40 p.m. - Ellen C. Scott, UCLA

Q&A 3:40-3:55 p.m.

Moderator: Prof. Celine Parreñas Shimizu