Notes on the Concept of Cultural Series


In 2013 the Media & Performance Seminar here at Utrecht University was dedicated to the concept of “series”. In one of the sessions I presented a paper on the concept of “Cultural Series”, proposed by Gaudreault at the 1996 conference on Méliès held at Cerisy la Salle. I reworked that presentation into a working document for our research project The Nation and Its Other and uploaded it to the repository of our library. You can find the full text in open access here.


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Domitor Conference 2014



Last week I attended the 13th International Domitor conference, which took place in Chicago an Evanston, June 21-25. It was a very well organised meeting of Domitorians from many different countries discussing various aspects of early cinema and the broader media and entertainment landscape around 1900. Sabine Lenk (who unfortunately could not come) and I contributed a paper on the complex question of so-called “fake” films and in particular staged topical films, which at that time were generally marketed by the producers as “reproductions” and “representations”.

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Lausanne Lecture on Dispositif



The colleagues from Lausanne University have formed a research group on dispositifs and I was invited to give a lecture on May 7. This happened to be the day there new Centre d’études cinématographiques was officially opened, so this was a special occasion. We particuarly discussed the similarities and differences in the way in which we conceptualise dispositif. The Lausanne perspective gives a quite central place to discursive constructions, including literary texts, of what might be called a “cinematic epistemè”.

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Lectures in Paris on Dispositif



I have been invited to give three lectures in the Roger Odin Chair seminar series at the Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, my old Alma Mater. The topic I have chosen is “Towards a Historical Pragmatics” and I am trying to develop my ideas on the concept of dispositif. The lectures are scheduled for January 14, 21 and 28. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to discuss my ideas with students and colleagues, and I am particularly happy that Roger Odin himself attends all the lectures.

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Montreal Conference: The Magic of Special Effects

At this conference, I presented a paper entitled “Truco-logiques: la magie des trucages et des effets spéciaux entre la scéne et l’écran”, which I co-wrote with Sabine Lenk. We discussed the different attitudes towards stage effects in Germany and France during the 19th century and their consequences for the status of cinematic tricks in early cinema.


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