Current issue
No. 62, winter 2023-2024

Dizi: forms, contexts, and circulation of
Turkish television

Introduction: New directions in Turkish television dramas
by Baran Germen
With attention to form, genre, and textuality, the section provides novel approaches to dizi in ways that contribute to and expand the prevalent frames of analysis focusing on its transnational reception and circulation.

Yalı mise-en-scene and frontality: an infrastructural take on dizi aesthetics
by Baran Germen
This essay reconsiders the transnationality of dizi with attention to form in dialogue with the scholarship on the melodramatic mise-en-scene through an infrastructural lens while charting out the distinctive visual and textual codes of domestic dramas that informs the dizi genre at large.

The many lives of Behzat Ç.—
the text’s transformation and its contexts of production
by Şebnem Baran
The cancellation of the Turkish detective series Behzat Ç. and the titular character's subsequent returns on the online streaming platform BluTV reveal how the show evolved to survive the changing context of production in Turkey.

Extreme dizi-ness: stretching the bounds of genre in (New?) Turkish television
by Josh Carney
This paper examines the Turkish TV serial (dizi) as a field of hegemonic struggle in light of two broadly divergent recent trends: first, strategic assault exemplified by government propaganda videos that coordinate with serial programming in the quest for full spectrum dominance of the airwaves; second, the subsequent retreat to video on demand (VOD) by producers who employ a host of tactics, including meta-television, to deliver programming outside the mainstream.

Media and the police state

Media and the police state:
Defining the contemporary police state
by Namrata Rele Sathe and Soumik Pal
This special section brings together essays from various national contexts to explore diverse manifestations of the contemporary police state and its relation to the media as legitimizing police violence.

White mansions, black bodies: Get Out and the New Age slave plantation
by Novotny Lawrence
This article focuses on Jordan Peele's Get Out, demonstrating the ways in which the film serves as a metaphor for Hollywood's—and the US's by extension—distorted treatments of slavery, independent cinema's poignant critiques of the horrific institution, as well as how in a contemporary context, surveillance, policing, and anti-Black discrimination continually plague Black bodies

"LET GO OF WHAT DOESN’T SERVE YOU." The Abolitionist Cultural Work of Melanie Cervantes
by Gloria Negrete-Lopez
This essay looks at Bay-Area artist and activist Melanie Cervantes’ screen-printing work that advocates for transformative visual narratives that advocate for the abolition of border enforcement and policing.

“Woman, Life, Freedom”— a feminist revolution against police atrocity
by Tania Ahmadi
The evolving "Woman, Life, Freedom" revolution/movement in Iran and resistance efforts against police atrocity are feminist endeavors in which activists employ diverse media forms, including video arts, performances, and cell-phone recordings to fight for freedom and dismantle pervasive toxic masculinity and entrenched patriarchy.

Ambivalent cops and institutional eyes:
the neoliberal police state in contemporary Japanese animation

by Brett Hack
This essay examines the political aesthetics of dystopian police states in Japanese anime, focusing on how interacting “techniques of imagination” within anime fictions construct a complex tension between the acceptance of neoliberal authority and the urge to find alternative ways of seeing and acting.

Teaching (anti-)police media
by Sasha Crawford-Holland
Drawing on my experiences in the classroom, I discuss how media educators can equip students to intervene in debates and struggles around police violence.

Notes on visuality and the Policing Complex
by Heath Schultz
This essay examines how post-Ferguson policing technologies can be theorized as a Policing Complex, a concept derived from Nicholas Mirzoeff’s history and theory of visuality.

Pinning down George Floyd: punitive mapping and its counter-imagination
by Maren Feller
Just as maps evoke discrimination and segregation, might they also reveal a different way of living together? Through analyzing the use of maps and mapping by activists in Minneapolis' George Floyd Square, this paper explores how cartographic representations, though often used as punitive tools of the police state, can also function as counter-maps of sharing and togetherness.

“True” Crime and the appropriation of state-recorded surveillance images in American Murder: The Family Next Door (2020)
by Zachariah Anderson
Even when streaming-era true crime documentaries such as American Murder do not explicitly address racist police violence, their appropriations of state-produced surveillance footage – including body-worn camera recordings – frequently counter the circulation of bystander videos and justify policing from an officer’s perspective.

Suicide or genocide? Policing the womb and killing the carceral state
by Catherine C. Saunders
This article examines the grim consequence of the carceral state by considering the relationship between the Black female womb and those over-represented in the prison population.

Law and disorder: the police and policing in Tamil Nadu
by Selvaraj Velayutham and Maya Ranganathan
This paper critically examines representations of police-citizen interaction with oppressed communities in Tamil Cinema that reveal torture, abuse and a state of exception.

Disco Elysium and the intersection of interactivity and interpassivity
by Seunghyun Shin
A critical analysis of the ways in which 2019 RPG game, Disco Elysium, suggests a new model of interactivity while incorporating interpassivity into a gaming experience.

Television: broadcast, cable, and streaming

Everything just goes black: time, melodrama, and
narrative incompleteness in The Sopranos

by Daniel Fraser
As it incorporates a network of symbols, codes and fractured temporalities, The Sopranos reconfigures the melodrama for the era of postmodern capitalism.

Series TV after the deluge: the vaster wasteland
by Dennis Broe
Streaming and striking were the by-words in TV production in 2023 as the producers and studios responded to a “budget crunch” by belt tightening, and writers, and actors took to the picket lines as well as globally, in their series work, to challenge the precepts of corporate entertainment.

What is Netflix anyway? Not television
by Mansa Narain
review of Amanda Lotz, Netflix and Streaming Video: The Business of Subscriber-Funded Video on Demand
Exploring the nuances of Netflix's algorithmic profiling and content strategies, Amanda Lotz offers insights into the industry's evolution and challenges. This book review delves into the changing landscape of digital entertainment, highlighting my personal experiences and the work of Lotz.

“I am the golden god!”— deconstructing white urban masculinity
in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
by Joshua D. Martin and Joseph D. Pecorelli
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia deconstructs white, heteropatriarchal tropes and how they take root through the prism of dark comedy and against the sitcom’s dynamic urban backdrop.

Global media studies on demand
by Erica Tortolani
review of Streaming Video: Storytelling Across Borders, edited by Amanda D. Lotz and Ramon Lobato
Streaming video on demand is a ubiquitous part of modern life, but how can we best study it on a scholarly level?  These essays offer new insights.


RRR: rebellious heroes, roaring stars, and myth-making
by Madhuja Mukherjee
An examination of the Indian blockbuster RRR reveals aspects of the problematic history of Andhra Pradesh-Telangana and the history of the Telugu film industry. The essay analyzes the processes of mythologization and turns the critical lens onto the stardom of two biggest stars and uses of VFX .

Notes on “Third Cinema as guardian of popular memory”— an Indian context
by Manas K Ghosh
Analyzing how Teshome Gabriel extends the possibility of Third Cinema as it paves its path through conflicts between ‘official history’ and popular memory, with a special focus on Indian film, literature, and culture.

Visual outlaw: the disruptive history of Bombay cinema
by Sagar Krishna
review of Unruly Cinema: History, Politics, and Bollywood by Rini Bhattacharya Mehta

Family entertainers and Malayalam cinema’s encounters with fascism:
reading the films of Sathyan Anthikad
by Swapna Gopinath
I analyzes the shifts in Indian sensibility toward fascism by using the popular films of Sathyan Anthikad, a prominent film maker from Malayalam language, as I ontextualise the current political situation within the larger framework of neoliberalism and other national discourses.

Mourning and occasions of excess:
melodramatic transgressions in contemporary Malayalam cinema
by Muhsina K.K and Akshaya Kumar
This essay examines how the unruly expressions of grief, rage, and transgressions of two distinct mourning publics in contemporary Malayalam cinema surface as potential sites for negotiating justice, while contesting the structural and symbolic violence entrenched in a public sphere.

Theoretical and narrative innovations

Pictorial storytelling and staging in Ann Hui’s The Way We Are
by Gary Bettinson
Through close analysis of Ann Hui’s restrained yet eloquent visual narration, this essay demonstrates that The Way We Are (2008) is as much a triumph of pictorial storytelling as it is a landmark in Hong Kong social criticism.

Musings on film theory
by Erica Tortolani
review of The Oxford Handbook of Film Theory,  ed. Kyle Stevens
This new edited volume addresses the multifaceted question of the best ways to solve a problem like contemporary film theory.

Meishi Street as an under-directed documentary
by Ziru Chen
An analysis of the aesthetic effects of Meishi Street examines the less-acknowledged drawbacks of “participatory empowerment” documentaries in contemporary China, addressing issues of authorship and amateurism.

Between panopticon and synopticon in the late period films of Stéphane Brizé
by Abraham Walker
This essay contributes to contemporary debates over the nature of surveillance under late-stage capitalism through a close reading of the recent French films La Loi du Marché (2016) and En Guerre (2019)—a set of “workplace dramas” that both advance and defy the genre.

Embodied allegory in Sorry to Bother You: art, performance, and
movement in neoliberal capitalist ruins
by Minji Huh
Sorry to Bother You is a viable fable for this day and age, alerting us to the possible subversion of official values and dominant culture, and at the same time, encouraging us to attend to another device of allegory, which is the historical situatedness of its current author. 

Getting by and passing time
review of Tung-Hui Hu’s Digital Lethargy: Dispatches from an
Age of Disconnection

by Luke Munn
Striking, marching, resisting: this is what the 'real' political subject looks like. Tung-Hui Hu is not so sure.

What’s in a name? A forum on the past, present, and potential futures of nontheatrical media studies
by Madison Brown and Tanya Goldman
Dispatch from forum evaluating the limitations of ‘nontheatrical’ as a descriptor to connote a distinct subfield of media studies.

Political reflections

New directions in ecocinema studies: giving voice to the Global South
by Robin L. Murray and Joseph K. Heuman
review of Ecocinema Theory and Practice 2., ed. Stephen Rust, Salma Monani, and Sean Cubbitt
Ecocinema Theory and Practice 2 illuminates the evolution of ecocinema studies in the last decade, highlighting both new approaches and new global and intersectional voices.

Ecomedia as performance/ecomedia as carbon giant
by Joseph K. Heuman and Robin L. Murray
review of The Routledge Handbook of Ecomedia Studies, edited and introduced by Antonio López, Adrian Ivakhiv, Stephen Rust, Miriam Tola, Alenda Y. Chang, and Kiu-wai Chu.
Carbon emissions, media, and a new take on ecomedia.

There is no AI.
by Gary Kafer
review of Kate Crawford, The Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the
Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence

In her tour-de-force study, Crawford provides an atlas of artificial intelligence, which reveals itself to be less a compendium of machines and more a registry of human power relations. But if all maps are political, what view of the world does Crawford’s construct?

Collaborative film making for socio-political transformation in
Colombia: a decolonial perspective
by Keya Saxena and Gabriela Martinez
A documentary film project led by Colombian professors uses a collaborative production process as a political act to contribute towards peacebuilding in a post-conflict society. 

The Woman King: a disruptive, unruly site of countervisuality
by Nandi Pointer
The Woman King challenges longstanding patterns of representing Black women, in Hollywood films, through the excavation of the Agojie warrior, affording us a site to (re)imagine the possibilities implicit in the representation of a more layered Black identity within the visual complex.

Gaza in focus

Introduction: Seeing Gaza differently
by Inez Hedges
Though 75+ years of war, occupation, and siege, Gazans have emerged resilient and resourceful.

Killing Gaza 2.0: an interview with Max Blumenthal
Boston, December 14, 2023
A searing first-hand report on the genocidal assault on Gaza by journalist/author/filmmaker Max Blumenthal of The Grayzone.

Gaza screened
by Inez Hedges
Gaza in war and “peace”:  35 years of available documentary and fiction films 1986-2021, a resource for teachers and students.

Gaza Ghetto: How to make a film under military occupation
by Joan Mandell
Chronicling the dramas of making and showing the first political documetary of family life in Gaza 40 years ago.

Resilience under fire: Gaza on film, video and television
by Inez Hedges
review of Gaza on Screen, ed. Nadia Yaqub
Gaza Lives Matter: the context behind the headlines that make Gaza and Palestine one of the major international issues of our time

Shashat Woman Cinema:the collective memory
of 12 years of women filmmakers in the Gaza Strip

by Alia Arasoughly
The inspiring story of Shashat Woman Cinema, which has trained and showcased films by women in the West Bank and Gaza since 2005, including 24 films made by 12 young Gazan women filmmakers between 2011 and 2022, about their lives in a place closed off from the outside world. Their films help us to understand the current Gaza events.

Film as witness to history: the dismantling of Jewish settlements in Gaza
by Inez Hedges in interview with Yoav Shamir about Five Days (2005)
A frank and refreshing conversation with Israel’s premier documentary filmmaker about his film “Five Days,” documenting Israel’s 2005 removal of Jewish settlers in Gaza

Poetry for Gaza
by Hiba Abu Nada and Julia Wright
Two poets respond to the war on Gaza

The last word

AI musings
by Julia Lesage
An introduction to chat AI programs with a demonstration.