Dr. Kristin Dowell will serve as a session chair for the 60th Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference in March. This annual conference provides scholars of film and media studies a platform for presenting and hearing new research, networking, and recognizing achievements within the field. The 2019 conference will take place in Seattle, Washington, March 13 – 17, 2019. Professor Dowell has organized and will be leading the panel Imagining Otherwise: Futurisms in Global Indigenous Media. This panel will feature four speakers: Karrmen Crey (Sto:lo, Cheam Indian Band) of Simon Fraser University, William Lempert of Bodoin College, Channette Romero of the University of Georgia, and Dr. Dowell herself. Professors Crey, Lempert, and Romero examine Lisa Jackson’s Biidaaban: The First Light (2018), Aboriginal Australian futurisms, and Indigenous post-apocalyptic science fiction, respectively. Professor Dowell will be presenting her recent paper “Native Slip-Stream and Ancestral Worlds: Indigenous Futurism in the Stop-Motion Films of Amanda Spotted Fawn Strong.”
Imagining Otherwise resists long-standing Hollywood stereotypes that relegate Indigenous peoples to the past by exploring how Native filmmakers have visualized Indigenous futures cinematically. These films place Native peoples at the center of innovations and speculative life-worlds, functioning as decolonizing technologies and expressing Indigenous resilience. The panelists explore how visual sovereignty is deployed in cinematic visions of the future, utilizing visual anthropology, film analysis, science fiction theory, multi-temporal storytelling, and other methodologies. They highlight how Native filmmakers use these works to gain visibility and celebrate Indigenous languages, cultures, and worldviews rather than compromising to meet mainstream science fiction expectations.