Cinema 8 CFP: Marx’s Philosophy


Mike Wayne (Brunel University London) is confirmed as a Guest Editor for this issue on Marx’s Philosophy and the moving image, joining the Managing Editor, Sérgio Dias Branco (University of Coimbra).

Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image invites submissions for its 8th issue devoted to the philosophy of Karl Marx and its links with cinematic art.

Marxism, as a tool for social analysis and transformation, has influenced politicized and progressive filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein and Sembène Ousmane, in theory and in practice, as well as shaped theoretical discussions around film and history, aesthetics, economics, and ideology. Key topics of this discussion have been reproducible art and active collective experience (Walter Benjamin) and cultural and social hegemony (Antonio Gramsci), among others.

In the 1960s, Louis Althusser reconceptualised ideology as illusion and allusion, moving from V. I. Lenin’s and Gramsci’s articulations, and indeed from Marx’s statements, that connect ideological forms to class relations — and also erasing the qualitative difference between theory and practice. This shift toward idealism has had a great impact in film studies and critical theory. In addition, postmodern thinking has profoundly influenced contemporary cultural critique, some strains of which are described as Marxist and exemplified by Fredric Jameson’s or Slavoj Žižek’s works (with or without the prefixes “post-” or “neo-”). This influence can be seen as having a function in ideological struggle, fulfilled through ideas such as discourse determinism and contingency politics that forgo Marx’s philosophy and its critical focus on class. In fact, his critical analysis of the capitalist mode of production is inseparable from a philosophical basis that is materialist and dialectical. The scientific quality of knowledge is founded on an exposition that explains the internal connections of phenomena, materialistically founded: that is to say, phenomena as a complex of real relations, inherently dialectical. Knowledge is therefore simultaneously a modality of being and an ingredient for its transformation. It questions, but it is also mediated by, objective reality. Thus it is determined and it determines. To be sure, in Marx’s philosophy the existence of a material, plurally determined, objective basis, does not exclude subjective configuration. Subjectivity, while not being arbitrary, it is certainly active and, while being reflective, it is also creative.

These aspects form the basis for a productive association and exchange between Marx’s philosophy and cinema — one that rejects turning his philosophy into a dogmatist system as well as avoids forgoing the specificity of cinematic works of art. The relative autonomy of culture from the economic basis that we find articulated in Marx and later in Marxists like Benjamin means that culture is the result of determinations that are not deterministic. This is quite different from a postmodern conceptualization of culture and art as completely independent from economic structures, social relations, and historical situations, either vaguely free-floating or constrainedly singular. For this reason, as Teresa L. Ebert perceptively argues, cultural critique is more necessary than ever in a period in which the structural crisis of capitalism has deepened. The main purpose of this issue is to contribute to such a critique within the sphere of film studies based on the philosophical reflections of Marx.

Proposals should directly engage with Marx’s philosophical writings and analyze cinematic works of art in detail or specific aspects of cinematic art. Submissions may also dialogue with the thinking of Friedrich Engels and other thinkers (Benjamin, Gramsci, Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, but also Ebert, et al.) who have developed Marx’s philosophical contribution without estranging from it, particularly in the fields of aesthetics and the philosophy of art (e.g., Adolfo Sánchez Vázquez). They may address the following subjects, but are not limited to them:

• alienation;

• antagonism/contradiction;

• capital and surplus value;

• capitalism and imperialism;

• class struggle and class consciousness;

• common and singular, collective and individual;

• dialectics and totality;

• historical materialism;

• ideology;

• liberation from exploitation and freedom from necessity;

• materialism;

• the one and the multiple;

• praxis and theory;

• the proletariat and the bourgeoisie;

• ontology and humanism;

• religion and social order/change; atheism and religion;

• human beings as socially constituted;

• socialist revolution;

• the state and its abolition.

The submission deadline is 15 July 2016 (for 500-word abstracts). Prospective authors should submit a short CV along with the abstract. A selection of authors will be invited to submit full papers based on the editor’s evaluation of the abstracts and according to the journal guidelines by 31 July 2016. The deadline for this final submission is 31 October 2016. Acceptance of the abstract in July does not guarantee publication, since all papers are subjected to double blind peer-review. Submissions are accepted in English and Portuguese (and in French and Spanish, but only from native speakers of these languages).

Cinema also invites submissions to its special sections: interviews, conference reports, and book reviews. For further details, please consult the journal’s website (

Feel free to contact the editor for this issue, Sérgio Dias Branco (, with specific queries or with general queries.