What is Film-Philosophy? Roundtable

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[The audio recording is of variable quality as we have had to remove a lot of background hiss and static. Please accept our apologies]

What is Film-Philosophy? Round Table

Held on Monday 12th October, 5.30 - 7.00 pm 2009, University of St Andrews, Scotland

Participants (in order of appearance)

Dr Robert Sinnerbrink (Philosophy, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)
Dr John Mullarkey (Philosophy, University of Dundee)
Professor Berys Gaut (Philosophy, University of St Andrews)
Dr David Martin-Jones (Film Studies, University of St Andrews)
Dr William Brown (Film Studies, University of St Andrews)


Over the course of at least the last hundred years the intellectual study of cinema has experienced a number of shifts towards and away from theoretical or philosophical attempts to understand the moving image. The twenty-first century sees film-philosophy resurgent, in part due to the interest in cinema that has flourished recently in disciplines like philosophy, and in part due to the interdisciplinary nature of Film Studies. At a time when it is increasingly in vogue to return to theoretical questions previously pushed off the agenda by the dominance of historical approaches to cinema, such as the perennial "What is Cinema?", we are taking this opportunity to ask, "What is Film-Philosophy?" In a context that is witnessing the rise of digital cinema, the global dominance of multi-national media conglomerates, and the worldwide spread of "world cinemas", what role does theory or philosophy play in helping us understand cinema, and indeed, what role can cinema play in transforming philosophy?

(L-R) David Martin-Jones, Berys Gaut, William Brown, Robert Sinnerbrink, John Mullarkey


William Brown is a Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of St Andrews. He has written various articles for journals and edited collections with a particular emphasis on the use of digital technology on contemporary cinema across a range of national and transnational contexts. He is also the joint author (with Dina Iordanova and Leshu Torchin) of Moving People, Moving Images: Cinema and Trafficking in the New Europe, (2010), co-editor of the forthcoming anthology Deleuze and Film (2012), and he is seeking publication for his Deleuze-inspired monograph on special effects, nominally titled Supercinema.

Berys Gaut holds a B.A. from Oxford University (Balliol College), and a M.A. and a PhD from Princeton University. He the author of two monographs: Art, Emotion and Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2007) and A Philosophy of Cinematic Art (Cambridge University Press, 2010). He is co-editor of the Blackwell series, New Directions in Aesthetics, and of The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics (2nd ed, 2005). His research interests include: aesthetics, especially its relation to ethics; philosophy of film and film theory; the philosophy of creativity; and moral theory.

David Martin-Jones is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. He is the author of Deleuze, Cinema and National Identity (Edinburgh University Press, 2006), Deleuze Reframed (I. B. Tauris, 2008) and Scotland: Global Cinema (Edinburgh University Press, 2009), as well as the forthcoming Deleuze and World Cinemas (Continuum, 2011). He is also co-editor of Cinema at the Periphery (Wayne State University Press, 2010) and the forthcoming Deleuze and Film (Edinburgh University Press, 2012).

John Mullarkey was educated at Dublin, London, and Warwick, and has taught philosophy for the last 15 years (at the University of Dundee since 2004), working in the area of European philosophy and film theory. He has published Bergson and Philosophy (Edinburgh UP, 1999), Post-Continental Philosophy: An Outline (Continuum, 2006) and, most recently, Refractions of Reality: Philosophy and the Moving Image (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009).

Robert Sinnerbrink is a Lecturer in Philosophy at Macquarie University, Sydney. He is the author of Understanding Hegelianism (Acumen, 2007), co-editor of Critique Today (Brill, 2006) and co-editor of Work, Recognition, Politics: New Directions in French Critical Theory (Brill, 2007). He has published numerous articles in contemporary European philosophy, critical theory, and philosophy of film, including essays on the films of Peter Greenaway, David Lynch, Terrence Malick, and Lars von Trier. In 2008 he was a keynote speaker at the inaugural Film and Philosophy conference at UWE, Bristol.

Thanks to Rachel Brewster at Liverpool John Moores University for extracting the original audio recording.

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