Carl Plantinga is visiting Atlanta in a trip we are co-sponsoring with the film program at Emory University. Plantinga will deliver a lecture on Wednesday, January 29 (the other details will soon be announced), and an opportunity will be organized so that students interested in meeting with him and discussing his work can do so. Contact Greg Smith if you would like to connect with this visit in ways that go beyond attending the public lecture. Plantinga (Ph.D., Wisconsin) is Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Calvin College, and a scholar of film, TV, and spectator affect. He is the author of Moving Viewers: American Film and the Spectator’s Experience (California 2009),Rhetoric and Representation in Nonfiction Film (Cambridge 1997), and co-edited Passionate Views: Films, Cognition and Emotion (Johns Hopkins 1999) with Greg Smith. Plantinga is president of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image. His GSU talk will be entitled “The Face of the Villain: A Cognitive Cultural Approach.”
During the week of March 3, we will host Marco Abel (Ph.D., Penn State), Associate Professor of film studies, appointed in the Department of English at the University Nebraska – Lincoln. Some of you remember Marco – he did his undergraduate work at Georgia State University, and taught film courses here about ten years ago as he was finishing his doctorate. Abel’s first book was Violent Affect: Literature, Cinema and Critique After Representation (Nebraska 2007). His GSU lecture, “Promise as Premise: The German Filmmaking Movement of the Berlin School Will Have Been,” connects to his new book project, forthcoming from Camden House and to be titled The Counter-Cinema of the Berlin School. Broadly speaking, Abel theorizes images from what one might call an a-signifying perspective. Rather than assuming that images re-present a preexisting world against which one can measure and evaluate an image’s meaning, veracity, morality, and political viability, Abel approaches images — cinematic or otherwise — from the idea, articulated by Jean-Luc Godard, that images are first and foremost “just images, not just images”: Images have force and do things, but they do not—at least not primarily—bear or represent meaning; images work by their constitutive intensities and affects rather than by re-presenting something in a way that may or may not be just or justified. Hence, the question to ask about images is less, “What does it mean?” than “How does it work?” and “What does it do?” Abel has just completed, with three other editors, work on a volume dealing with the films of German filmmaker Dominik Graf, the release of which was timed to coincide with the director’s 60th birthday.
At the March 25 (Tuesday, 3:35) doctoral proseminar, we will host a talk to be given by Robert (Bob) Ivie, a rhetorician on the Indiana University faculty. Ivie is Professor Emeritus of Communication and Culture at Indiana (Bloomington), and his long and productive research record focuses on rhetoric as a mode of political critique and cultural production, with particular emphasis on democracy and the problem of war. These themes have been explored in monographs that includeDissent From War (Kumarian Press 2007), Democracy and America’s War on Terror (Alabama 2005), and peer reviewed research essays in a wide range of outlets including the Quarterly Journal of Speech,Javnost, the Presidential Studies Quarterly, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, and many others. Ivie is currently also appointed as an Honorary Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Copenhagen, and last November was named a Distinguished Scholar of the National Communication Association.