Thursday, October 11, 2012

Salzburg Global Seminar: American Studies Symposium

Screening America: Film and Television in the 21st Century

November 15-19, 2012

The Salzburg Seminar American Studies Association (SSASA) is organizing a four day symposium on American film and television, to be held at the Salzburg Global Seminar, Salzburg, Austria, from November 15-19, 2012. All activities will take place at the historic Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg, Austria, and the adjacent Meierhof. The symposium is open to individuals working or interested in areas related to the topic. The symposium will focus on developments in American film and television since the turn of the millennium and the way they reflect and communicate messages and images about varied aspects of life and culture.

As we edge further into the 21st century there have been notable changes in the modern media and particularly in the film and television industries. The symposium will concern itself both with these changes and with the ways in which film and television have reflected and engaged with America and abroad. In the cinema, the documentary has become a significant force while television, partly as a result of cable -- particularly HBO and AMC, but also through a network such as NBC -- has attracted major talents from the theatre and the novel to produce genre series which compare favorably to any of world television. Why and how has this come about? Has this had any impact on mainstream television or movies? How has it affected the perception of America around the world?

In addition to sessions related to and the impact of films and television on individuals, our sessions will also explore the institutional effect of films and television on the arts, technology and politics of the United States and ultimately their relation to the perception of America abroad. We will examine the global politics of film making since Hollywood films are part of this modern global system, asking what film and television tell us about the new century, and the American political system. Discussions will include the impact of new technologies and the impact of new methods of film making and distribution.

As print journalism declines, television news falls prey to ideologues, and the blogger assumes an equal authority to the trained professional, where will we turn for our understanding of a changing world? Do we need to concern ourselves, as once we did, with the impact that American film and television products have on local media industries and people around the world?

For further information about becoming a symposium participant, please contact symposium director Ms. Marty Gecek See also


  • Ron Clifton (Chair) - Retired Counselor, Senior Foreign Service of the United States; teaching, lecture and research interests include analysis of the perception, reaction and impact of American culture abroad and the implications for cultural diplomacy and foreign policy.
  • Melis Behlil - Assistant Professor and Chair, Department of Radio, Television and Cinema, Kadir Has University, Istanbul; member of steering committee, European Network of Cinema and Media Studies; research interests include production studies, Hollywood, and globalization
  • Christopher Bigsby - Professor of American Studies and director of the Arthur Miller Centre for American Studies, University of East Anglia, UK; broadcaster and award-winning novelist and biographer; currently writing a book on American television drama.
  • Christof Decker - Professor of American and Media Studies, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich; editor and author of Visuelle Kulturen der USA/Visual Cultures of the USA (2010)
  • Walter Hölbling - Professor of U.S. Literature and Culture, American Studies Department, Karl-Franzens-University, Graz, Austria
  • Lary May - Professor of American Studies and History, University of Minnesota; current project: "Foreign Affairs: Global Hollywood and America's Cultural Wars
  • Toby Miller - (Keynote Speaker) Professor and Chair, Media & Cultural Studies, University of California Riverside; Author, Global Hollywood 2(2005), Makeover Nation (2008), and Greening the Media (2012)
  • Richard Pells - Professor of History Emeritus, University of Texas at Austin; author of "Modernist America: Art, Music, Movies, and the Globalization of American Culture"(2011)
  • William Uricchio - Professor and Director, MIT Comparative Media Studies Programs; Professor of Comparative Media History, Utrecht University; currently working on the history of the televisual and on algorithms as cultural form

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