Hiking to/in Scotland

Corinne Oster and Dale Hudson   







    This past January, we decided to submit a panel proposal, with our friend and colleague from the French and Italian Studies Department, Géraldine Vatan, for the 12th annual Screen Studies conference in Glasgow, Scotland. While the prospect of presenting our work to well-respected scholars at this prestigious conference was appealing, we did not fathom—not for one second—that we would have to hike gargantuan hills, subsist on greasy chips, and endure a never-ending winter—all in June!  "What a waste of a beautiful month," some might say, but Glasgow is a beautiful city and the conference was well worth the interruption to our "summer holiday."


University of Glasgow

     The University of Glasgow, hosted the conference with the film journal Screen, and is located on the outskirts of town, but it is easily reachable from downtown, provided that it does not rain. The conference was held in the Gilmorehill Centre, which is actually an old chapel that has been renovated into a center for the arts, complete with screening room and offices located in the alcoves of the chapel. There, in that very building, we presented our panel, "Remapping National and Cinematic Identities: Ethnicity, Regionalism, and Cosmopolitanism in Contemporary French Cinema," in which we explored questions of ethnicity, regionalism, and cosmopolitanism in the context of French cultural identity, particularly as it is constructed in French "national" cinema. We were pleased with the positive responses to our panel, especially as we were among the few graduate students who presented papers. After our panel we hiked back to our modest (cheap?) lodgings in a youth hostel that surmounted one of the higher hills of Glasgow, stopping along the way for a quick pint at a local pub, and to catch up with the results of the World Cup. Many of the other presenters stayed at a swanky downtown hotel (well, really a residence hall, but they had showers with sufficient water pressures), thereby missing out on the fresh air and vigorous exercise of a twice-daily mountain hike.


The scope of the conference reflects Screen’s commitment to various critical and methodological approaches to the study of cinema, as evident in its publication of important essays, such as Laura Mulvey’s "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" (1975), Robert Stam and Louise Spence’s "Colonialism, Racism, and Representation: An Introduction" (1983), Manthia Diawara’s "Black Spectatorship: Problems of Identification and Resistance" (1988), Richard Dyer’s "White" (1988), and Andrew Higson’s "The Concept of National Cinema" (1989), among others. We attended some excellent panels and heard papers by Laura Mulvey, Phil Powrie, and Elizabeth Cowie. Corinne was very impressed with Lynn Spigel’s work on US television archives, and Dale was equally impressed with the "Spectators of Colour" panel by a group of recent Ph.D.s from California. We also got some time to enjoy the city on our last day: Macintosh’s architecture, the Tenement House museum, the botanical gardens, and a few cheap bars and techno clubs. A word to the wise… the concept of cocktails for a mere 70p is indeed exciting, but the reality of enjoying these cocktails amidst a bunch of drooling and sometimes groping drunks, who have spent at least £7 on vodka-infused energy drinks, is less enjoyable.


NOTE: The CFP for the 13th annual Screen Studies conference has been posted on the OSGCL listserv.


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