March/April 2018 - In This Issue

Important Dates

May 4
Survey for 2018 annual conference closes

May 25
Nominations for committee volunteers due

2018 Conference Highlights

Thank you to all who participated in the 2018 Toronto conference!  This year was another big success.  Our 2018 attendance numbers were 2028 - our biggest conference yet!  A total of 443 panels, workshops, and roundtables were presented during the week.  We are looking forward to seeing you again next year in Seattle!  

Executive Director's Note
Dear SCMS Members,

It was great seeing those of you who were able to participate in the 2018 conference in Toronto last month! Our total attendance number of 2,028 surpassed our previous record of 1,987 set in Montreal in 2015. Beyond the large attendance, it was a conference enhanced by new programming that included the Institutional Chairs' Breakfast, the Funders Forum that included representatives from the NEH, ACLS and SSHRC, the Members Business Meeting re-formatted as a listening session, and our new format of Seminars. We hope the additions and changes to existing programming were useful to you. You will find information on all four of these meetings within this issue of News Brief.

In the coming months, we will be looking at the issue of global diversity and asking ourselves how we can better serve the needs and interests of our international members. As we strategize on the issue, I urge our international membership to volunteer to be on the 2018-19 Program Committee. That is the most direct way to have a stake in conference programming. The volunteer sign-up link is in this month's issue with a deadline of May 25, 2018.

The SCMS Board takes very seriously the issue of diversity. At the Toronto Conference, ex officio Board Member Joshua Nelson, Director of the Film/Media Program and an affiliated faculty member of Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma, hosted an exploratory meeting regarding Indigenous media studies within SCMS. Those in attendance engaged in an extremely productive discussion that included recommendations on how SCMS can better support Native and Indigenous scholarship going forward. As a first step, SCMS is offering a two-year step down membership waiver for first time Indigenous members and Indigenous media scholars. We will waive both the membership and conference fees in the first year and waive the conference fee in the second year. Watch for more information in the May issue of News Brief on how to apply.

Thank you again for your dedication. We appreciate you, we are listening to your feedback, and we are seeking solutions to some of the more challenging issues facing all of us at SCMS. 

Jill Simpson
Executive Director

Financial Analyst

Program Coordinator 

Program Assistant 
President, 2017-2019

Paula Massood

President-Elect, 2017-2019

Secretary, 2015-2018

Bambi Haggins
Treasurer, 2017-2020

Miranda Banks




Cinema Journal Editor, 2018-2022

Past-President, 2017-2019

Web Content Manager

Director of Conferences and Events

Representative of SCMS Institutional Home

Executive Director

2018 Award Winners

On Thursday, March 15th, SCMS honored this year's award winners for their achievements in cinema and media studies.  For the full list of 2018 award winners, please visit:

Thank you to the 2017-2018 Award Committee members for their hand work in selecting such an outstanding group of scholars. 

Information regarding submissions for the 2018-2019 award cycle will be posted to the SCMS website in the coming months.

2018 Conference Survey

We hope you enjoyed your time at the 2018 Toronto Conference! We would appreciate your feedback, as we are already thinking towards next year's conference in Seattle. 

Details and a link to the survey have been sent to all attendees.  The survey will close at 11:59ET, Friday, May 4. Please check your email and contact the SCMS Office if you did not receive the survey link.

Program Chair, Paula J. Massood
Host Committee Chair, Kirsten Moana Thompson

If you are interested in being part of the 2019 Host Committee for the upcoming SCMS conference in Seattle, please contact the SCMS Home Office at

SCMS depends on the dedicated work of our membership. Each level of our governance, from the Officers and Board of Directors to members of Standing and Annual Committees are volunteers.  If you are interested in taking an active role in SCMS leadership, we urge you to volunteer for Committee service.  

To learn more about the various types of Committees that serve the SCMS membership,  click here.  

To volunteer to serve on a 2018-2019 SCMS committee, or to nominate a fellow SCMS member,  click here.  

Please note, all committee members must be current SCMS members in good standing.  The deadline for nominations is Friday, May 25, 2018 at 5:00PM CST.  

If you have any questions regarding SCMS service, please contact the Home Office at

Call for Proposals - In Focus 

Cinema Journal/Journal of Cinema and Media Studies is looking for a few good writers!
As you may have heard at the conference last month,  Cinema Journal/Journal of Cinema and Media Studies is very actively seeking to diversify the range of voices, theoretical traditions, and topics it publishes. As the peer-reviewed, scholarly publication of the Society, the journal's basic mission is to foster engaged debate and rigorous thinking among humanities scholars of film, television, digital media, and other audiovisual technologies. Its editors are committed to the aesthetic, political, and cultural interpretation of these media and their production, circulation, and reception. To that end, we seek to promote a range of approaches to film and media studies and attendant fields, including (but not limited to) digital media, sound studies, visual culture, video game studies, fan studies, and avant-garde and experimental film and media practices.
In addition to your 8,000-12,000 word feature articles, please consider submitting proposals for  In Focus and the  Cinema Journal Teaching Dossier (published in conjunction with All SCMS members are invited to propose In Focus and Teaching Media dossiers. To do so, please read the guidelines for submissions on their webpages, then email  Cinema Journal Editor Caetlin Benson-Allott with an initial query:

Best Practices in Applying for Funds to Support Scholarship Powerpoint Slides
At the conference in Toronto, representatives from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH), the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) held a meeting about best practices in applying for funding and scholarship. Those who attended found the meeting to be very helpful and inspiring. Please find the slides from that meeting below in case you could not attend or to remind you of details.

National Endowment for the Humanities SCMS Slides
American Council of Learned Societies March 2018 SCMS Slides
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 2018 SCMS Slides

Institutional Members Chairs' Breakfast Recap
The inaugural Institutional Members' Chairs Breakfast was held on March 16 at the conference in Toronto, and provided a space for film and media studies program Chairs to discuss issues pertinent to their departments and institutions, and to the field more broadly. 

SCMS Board member Derek Kompare hosted the event, and presented an overview of the survey data generated by the Chairs prior to the conference. 

"It became clear in the survey and at the meeting that our field has a great diversity of programs of different sizes, ranges, and institutional homes. While collaborative opportunities have opened up at some schools, resources and standing are more difficult to come by at others," said Kompare.

Similarly, the shifting ground of academic employment was discussed, and Chairs shared ideas on preparing graduate students for different job markets, and facilitating the development and retention of contingent and junior faculty. 

The Chairs all welcomed the opportunity for the discussion, and expressed a desire to continue it throughout the year, and at future conferences. Plans are proceeding on each of these fronts, with the goal of encouraging greater ongoing discussion and resource sharing among Chairs and film and media studies programs.

The SCMS Fieldnotes project is pleased to present a new interview with foundational film and media studies scholar Hamid Naficy.

Hamid Naficy 
interviewed by Kaveh Askari
Video Interview Link

Fieldnotes is an SCMS project to conduct, circulate and archive interviews with pioneers of film and media studies. In addition to recognizing the contributions of key scholars, the project also aims to foster knowledge of and interest in the diverse and dynamic developments that have shaped -- and continue to shape -- our expanding field. 

Recap of the 2018 Members' Business Meeting

The SCMS Board introduced a new format for this year's Members Business Meeting. In an effort to make the March 15 meeting more collaborative and productive, the meeting was structured as a listening session where attendees would have the opportunity to ask questions and offer comments throughout the meeting rather saving them for the end. 

To those of you who were unable to attend the Members' Business Meeting in Toronto, please review the topics and linked slides below.
In response to feedback about the size and density of the conference, the discussion was centered around the proposal of trimming the size of the next SCMS conference in Seattle. 

Proposed changes: 
  • The conference will start midday Wednesday, instead of Wednesday morning. 
  • We will have 75 minute lunch breaks Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The proposed changes are intended to give people a little more breathing room during the conference and better travel options for arriving on Wednesday. 

The proposed changes would lower our acceptance rates, which have been coming down but are still inflated. 

Compare to American Studies which has an average rate of 31% for open call papers and 47% for pre-con panels. Under this new schedule, we would average about 60% overall.

The acceptance rates for the 2018 conference in Toronto can be found here:

In the fall of 2017, SCMS partnered with the Radio Preservation Task Force (RPTF) whose mission is to construct lines of communication between federal, academic, and private sector institutions about preservation and access to AV history.  The outreach is accomplished through big data development, grant writing projects, and curation of archival materials. 

A link has been posted to SCMS's website at the RPTF federal page hosted by the Library of Congress:

SCMS Radio Studies SIG member Andrew Bottomley represented SCMS at the November 2017 annual meeting in Washington, DC.
There were 256 applications for the Toronto conference, which saw an increase from Chicago (231), Atlanta (169), Montreal (125), and Seattle (144) 

44 Travel grants of $550/each were awarded, with 14 registration waivers granted at various amounts, based on attendee membership category. 

Of 256 applications:
  • 183 Student Applicants 
  • 28 Diversity Applicants 
  • 31 Un/Underemployed applicants

44 Travel Grants Awarded

  • 15 Students 
  • 16 Diversity 
  • 13 Un/Underemployed
Congratulations to our new board members!
Secretary, Tim Havens 
Board Member, Hollis Griffin 
Board Member, Liz Evans 

Sincere thanks to all who stood for election for their continued commitment and service to SCMS! Thank you to all who voted! And thanks to the Nominating Committee for its wonderful work in selecting nominees for this year's ballots.
It is not too early to begin thinking about your Seattle 2019 Special Event Proposals.
Competition has become increasingly strong with the number of applications growing in size each year.
To strengthen your proposal's chances for selection, we urge you to collaborate with as many other Caucuses and Scholarly Interest Groups as possible in creating events of wide interest to our membership.

In January referendum, 78% (841 of 1,085) voted in favor of changing the name of our journal. 
The journal will begin publishing under its new name with issue 58.1 (Fall 2018) 
  • There will be continuity within Project Muse. 
  • 58.1 will also debut a new cover design to go with the new name. 
  • These changes will emphasize the journal's commitment to all areas of humanities-oriented scholarship in media studies, including digital humanities. 

Established a wiki to increase transparency on our editorial process and policies:


Now working with Submittable to manage incoming submissions and shorten review period:

Thanks to SCMS members, the Fieldnotes oral history project has completed 32 interviews with field pioneers. Anybody can suggest an interview subject and anybody can volunteer to interview somebody! 

Thousands have watched and listened to these interviews. Most (typically 10/year) have occurred at the conference, but if video/audio technology is available offsite, interviews can be conducted elsewhere as well. 

Timothy Corrigan, Donald Crafton, Seth Feldman, Andre Gaudreault, Barry Grant, Marcia Landy, Ruby Rich, Jacqueline Stewart, and Patricia Zimmermann were scheduled to be interviewed at this conference. 

To further diversify and internationalize who is seen, heard, and considered to be a field pioneer, this year we are reaching out to all Caucuses and several Scholarly Interest Groups to ask them for names of interviewees and interviewers. 

As always, we welcome your ideas, your suggestions and your help!