CFP: The Philosophy of Film Without Theory

Submission deadline: September 30, 2018

Conference date(s):
January 10, 2019 - January 11, 2019

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

University of York
York, United Kingdom

Topic areas


Philosophers of film are increasingly interested in investigating non-, anti- and a-theoretical methodologies in their work. This international conference aims to create new opportunities for dialogue and debate between those philosophers, film scholars, filmmakers and viewers who are interested in pursuing - or are intrigued by - the idea of philosophy of film without theory.

Methodologies in Philosophy Without Theory (in general) include, but are by no means limited to: fine-grained description and discernment; disentangling confusions; reactive and/or reflective critical inquiry, the exploration of conceptual connections; logical geography; conceptual synthesis; the provision of perspicuous presentations and surveyable overviews; non-systematic engagement with individual or particular works, subjects, objects, ideas, events and/or situations...  and more.

Methodologies in Philosophy Without Theory about film may include any of the above as part of a commitment to focus on, and pay close attention to, individual films.

We invite submissions from philosophers whether of film, or who use film, in their work. Particularly welcome are postgraduate, non-affiliated independent scholars, and filmmakers.  Please send a 300-word abstract suitable for a 20-minute talk to by September 30th, 2018. Communication of acceptance will be by October 31st, 2018.


Invited Speakers:

Lucy Bolton (Queen Mary, University of London)

Mikel Burley (University of Leeds)

Sophie Grace Chappell (Open University)

Victor Dura-Vila (University of Leeds)

Andrew Klevan (University of Oxford)

Barry Lee (University of York)

Colin Heber Percy (Screenwriter and priest)

Conference Co-Directors:

Craig Fox (California University of Pennsylvania)

Britt Harrison (University of York)

Questions of possible interest might include:

- What are, or might be, the possibilities, opportunities and/or limitations for Philosophy of Film Without Theory?

- Do recent anti-, non-, and a-theoretical developments in ethics offer insights and methodological alternatives for philosophers of film?

- To what extent does ‘cognitive film theorising’ suffer from problems similar to the ‘Grand Theory’ it was meant to supplant?

- Might there be such a thing as ‘Wittgensteinian philosophy of film’, and if so, what might it be like?

- Is the work of Stanley Cavell an example of the Philosophy of Film Without Theory and how might contemporary philosophers engage with his methodologies and/or ideas?

- What significance might the Philosophy of Film Without Theory have beyond its direct engagement with questions about movies?

- How might the Philosophy of Film Without Theory fit with, challenge, and/or advance philosophical aesthetics?

- What might Without Theory engagements with individual films - fiction, non-fiction or experimental - look like, and offer?

As this is the first ever Philosophy of Film Without Theory conference - indeed the first ever Philosophy (of any stripe) Without Theory conference - we welcome all Abstracts which seek to discover and display the potential philosophical value in Without Theory ways of understanding films.  For more information and contact details please see the conference website, here:

We will offer £15 travel bursaries for White Rose University postgraduates and hope to offer more bursaries for other UK-based postgraduates.  WRoCAH-funded students may apply for Small Awards.

The conference co-directors thank the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities: Leeds, Sheffield & York (WRoCAH), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Society of Aesthetics (BSA) and the University of York for their generous support.

Supporting material

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Custom tags:

#Film , #Aesthetics, #Wittgenstein, #Cavell, #Without Theory

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