Call for Papers:

Somatechnics special journal issue (Edinburgh University Press)

“Cinematic Bodies”

Co-edited by Cáel M. Keegan, Eliza Steinbock, Laura Horak

Submissions due: March 1st, 2017 New deadline! April 30th, 2017
Length: 6000 words + 200 word abstract + 150 word author biography
Submission email:
Journal submission details (incl. style):

This special issue of Somatechnics invites contributions on the topic of cinematic bodies. Cinema, broadly construed, is ripe for a somatechnical approach. Derived from the Greek soma (body) and techné (craftsmanship), the term somatechnics holds in view the lively enfleshment of techné and the practices of embodying via hard and soft technologies. From the first actualities and trick films, human and non-human bodies have assembled in and around filmic events, producing powerful cine-social apparatuses with paratextual and intertextual appendages (e.g. fan cultures, remakes, “the oppositional gaze” [hooks 1999]). We thus invite scholars to approach “the cinematic” broadly, as a sensorial and temporal flow of interrelations around images and sound that governs and opens possibilities for various embodiments. What might it mean, now, to occupy a “cinematic body”?

event promo image

We encourage submissions that develop an analysis of particular films or media texts, filmmakers, or film and media theories that are attentive to assemblages of cinematic bodies in their social, transformative, and transmorphing dimensions. We welcome contemporary and historical approaches to cinema’s specific political and aesthetic somatechnical qualities, but also scholarship in the speculative genre–what sort of sociality or apparatus could the cinematic body become?

cinematic bodies feature image

Moreover, we petition contributors to reflect on how cinematic experiences might transition bodies in characteristically trans* modes of wayward gendering, inspired by definitions of transgender as “a movement away from an unchosen starting point” (Stryker 2008) and trans* as a “movement across vitality” (Hayward and Weinstein 2015). Is cinema paradigmatically trans* in its somatechnical capacities? Reciprocally, does transgender phenomenology offer new modes for engaging with or imagining cinematic aesthetics? We invite authors to employ a trans* rubric to investigate cinematic bodies and to ask how are bodies like cinema.

cinematic bodies feature image

We offer the following provocations and jumping off points:

  • What new theories do we need to understand new trans* media and cultural production?
  • How might trans* offer us a way to map changes in the “cinematic bodies” of the 21st century, both locally and globally?
  • Do media formats attend to gender differentially? If so, which seem most amenable to trans viewing practices, or practices of transformative embodying?
  • “Transsexual is to celluloid as transgender is to digital.” (Susan Stryker, in conversation)
  • Through the cinematic aestheticization of collective life, there are bodies upon which the cultural imaginary inscribes “what can appear” and “what is likely to become perceptible.” Could the “cinematic body” name the process by which the life of images drives the shape of phenomenal embodiment?
  • Might Steven Shaviro’s anti-psychoanalytic assessment of film’s affective, non-binary generation of on- and off-screen bodies in The Cinematic Body (1992) inspire a somatechnical theory of film?
  • Has Eugenie Brinkema’s polemical assessment of film theory’s absent center in The Forms of the Affects (2014) advanced a call to decapitate the Spectator-Theorist by insisting we trace the folds of affect embedded in film form, rather than what it is to be affected or made-over into a cinematic body?
  • How could the phenomenological frameworks outlined by Vivian Sobchack (1992, 2004) and Jennifer M. Barker (2009) account for social categories of difference and patterning of stigma more satisfactorily?
  • Could Laura U. Marks’ (2000, 2002) theorization of the Deleuzo-Guattarian AND of assemblage kindle a feminist critical race analysis of cinematic bodies?
  • What room is there to resuscitate and repair spectatorship theories founded upon sexual difference that (wrongly) align masculine-feminine with male-female?
  • In The Witch’s Flight (2007), Kara Keeling writes, “Neither cinematic perceptual schemas nor cinematic matter precedes the other. Together they constitute the cinematic, an assemblage that might also be referred to as ‘twentieth-century reality’ because we neither posit nor access ‘reality’ except via these processes, which were perfected by film” (12). What are the embodied stakes of living in an age when digital and information-based processes have supplanted the “mechanical reproduction” of reality via celluloid?

cinematic bodies feature image

Submission Process:

Complete submissions are due April 30, 2017. Submissions must:

  • Be approximately 6000-8000 words.
  • Employ the Harvard Author–date reference system.
  • Be saved as either a Word .doc or .rtf file
  • Include a separate title page, including author name, institutional affiliation, contact information, and biography (150 words or less)
  • Be accompanied by an abstract of between 200–300 words, as well as between 4–6 research keywords.
  • Be typed double-spaced with left justification and all pages numbered.

Note: Author name(s) should not appear on the article manuscript itself.

Submit by April 30, 2017 to

cinematic bodies feature image

We invite potential contributors to email us at the above address to discuss their submission ideas. Following the deadline, guest editors will review the manuscripts and determine those to be sent for full peer review.

cinematic bodies feature image