SCMS 2015

montreat2015The preliminary conference program for SCMS (the Society of Cinema and Media Studies) came out today, and I am happy to announce that I will be participating in both a panel on LGBT audiences and a workshop on feminist and queer archiving methods.

The workshop, “The Unexpected and the Possible: Methods in Creating Feminist and Queer Archives,” with Alicia Kozma (Co-Chair), John Musser (Co-Chair), Vicki Callahan, T.L. Cowan, Dayna McLeod, and Jasmine Rault, will be Wednesday, March 25th, from 2-3:45pm.

The panel, “Looking for LGBT Audiences: New Approaches to Queer Media Spectatorship, Community, and Discourse,” with Raffi Sarkissian (Chair), Diana Pozo, Nicole Hentrich, and Patricia White (Respondent), will be Friday, March 27th, from 12:15-2pm. Below you can find the panel proposal, written by Raffi Sarkissian.

Please consider attending one or both, especially if you are a queer media studies scholar. Also, as the Queer Caucus Graduate Representative, I invite you to attend the Queer Caucus annual meeting and mixer (dates and times TBA)!

 Looking for LGBT Audiences: New Approaches to Queer Media Spectatorship, Community, and Discourse

The increased visibility of and access to LGBT images and narratives over the past three decades has brought with it a stronger focus on LGBT audiences, audiences for LGBT content, and their active and queer participatory practices, past and present. Scholarship on such audiences has spanned many approaches: as agents of queer reading through spectatorship (Doty’s Making Things Perfectly Queer and White’s Uninvited); as constituent publics at film festivals (Rich, The New Queer Cinema); as constructed by the market (Sender, Business, Not Politics) and politics of the nineties’ “gay” movement (Becker, Gay TV and Straight America); and as active participants in online and new media platforms (Pullen, LGBT Identity and Online New Media). For the most part, this body of work chronicles LGBT audience’s constructed or interpretive position in relation to the text, without concentrated attention on their role in actively shaping the content. As media culture keeps moving online, audience’s commentary, consumption habits, and community building are becoming more central to how filmmakers, distributors, and marketers configure their content and its circulation.

This panel builds on existing and recent scholarship to assert that audiences play an increasingly formative role in the making and meanings of both mainstream and independent LGBT-produced media content. Whether it is commenting online, attending festivals, streaming niche content, or spreading the word through community, the three papers on this panel investigate the industry habits and audience discourse of gay television, queer women’s films, and queer porn to argue the various ways audience participation constructs the media made ostensibly for them. Diana Pozo turns to participatory production practices of The Crash Pad to investigate the blurring of producer/consumer and authenticity/fantasy in queer porn spectatorship. Roxanne Samer utilizes archives, interviews, and evolving industry practices to detail the role finding and making community plays in the distribution of films from second wave feminists to queer women filmmakers today. Nicole Hentrich and Raffi Sarkissian analyze the online discourse produced around HBO’s Looking to argue for the centrality of audience engagement in shaping the series’ cultural import. Patricia White will prepare a response. Together, this panel proposes focusing attention on the role audiences play in understanding queer media culture today.

Select Bibliography 

Ahn, Patty, Julia Himberg, and Damon R. Young (eds.). “In Focus: Queer Approaches to Film, Television, and Digital Media.” In Cinema Journal, 2 (53), 2014.

Becker, Ron. Gay TV and Straight America. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. 2006.

Ng, Eve. “A ‘Post-Gay’ Era? Media Gaystreaming, Homonormativity, and the Politics of LGBT Integration.” Communication, Culture, & Critique 6.2 (June 2013): 258-283.

Rich, B. Ruby. New Queer Cinema: The Director’s Cut. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013.

Sender, Katherine. Business, Not Politics: The Making of the Gay Market. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.