Department of Music

Back Page

Image and Idea: The Cinema of Stanley Kubrick
Buffalo, NY, April 2000

Call for papers

Image and Idea: The Cinema of Stanley Kubrick

2000 Northeast Modern Language Association Convention
Buffalo, NY					April 7-8

Roland Barthes: "Now even--and above all if--the image is in a certain
manner the limit of meaning, it permits the consideration of a veritable
ontology of the process of signification. How does meaning get into the
image? Where does it end? And if it ends, what is there beyond?" 

No one who grew up watching Stanley Kubrick films can easily conceive of
the image as the limit of meaning. That's because Kubrick was a great
master at getting meaning into the image. His mature films always
challenge their viewers to read them like texts, offering networks of
allusion and analogy that treat images like language. The obelisk in
2001, the best example, "looks" like a hole in the screen that can be
filled with reading. There are other instances in Kubrick's cinema: the
killings that punctuate the two sections of Full Metal Jacket, the
recurrence of Peter Sellers in Strangelove, even (embryonically) the
mannequin-factory fight scene in Killer's Kiss. 

This panel will consider Kubrick's methods of making cinematic meaning.
Did he, as many critics claim, produce cold and cerebral films that chose
pretentious quasi-philosophy over character and narrative, or do his films
offer genuinely challenging cinematic conceptualizations of real issues?
Can we detect a trajectory in the relationship between idea and image
throughout his career? How do race, gender, and sexuality figure in his
methods of signification?  How do particular films put meaning into
images? To what extent do Kubrick's images resist or undermine their

Send 1-2 page abstracts by September 15, 1999 to:

Sean Desilets
Department of English
East Hall
Tufts University                        
Medford, MA 02130