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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Global Media: Sound, Image, Materiality - 10-11 June 2022, Queens’ College, Cambridge

Rosine Mbakam (left) and Pooja Rangan (right)

Image: Rosine Mbakam (left) and Pooja Rangan (right)

Two of the most important developments in media studies in recent decades have been turns toward materiality, on the one hand, and global histories, on the other. 

In many ways, these developments may seem at odds: materiality and media archaeology have often privileged objects, hardware, and physical constraint over the social, arguing over the ontologies of various mediums and the consequences of those ostensibly realities.

In contrast, studies of media in global contexts, whether historical or anthropological, have emphasized the social construction of media: how a given medium’s meanings and uses may shift dramatically from one context to another, how people exercise agency within material constraints of medium and capital, and how local practices — often far from the metropoles and colonial centers of Europe and North America — may ultimately shape more global narratives about, say, film or phonography. 

Bringing together scholars and artists from around the globe, this symposium will explore questions of global histories and possible futures that take seriously the constraints of media as physical objects that give rise to particular cultural techniques, while also embracing the necessity to continue the work of de-provincializing media studies, as well as the closely related fields of visual and sound studies.

Register to attend in-person or via Zoom


Keynote lecture: 

Pooja Rangan, Amherst College
"Listening in Crip Time, or a Countertheory of Documentary Access"


Rosine Mbakam, Delphine’s Prayers (2021)
Rita Coburn, Marian Anderson: The Whole World in Her Hands (2022)

Live Performance

Mazen Kerbaj (sound artist)


Diana Abbani, Freie Universität, Berlin
Alejandra Bronfman, SUNY Albany
Kirsty Sinclair Dootson, University of St. Andrews
Vebhuti Duggal, Ambedkar University Delhi
Cassandra Guan, Brown University
Rhiannon Harries, University of Nottingham
Julia Michiko Hori, University of Cambridge
Radha Kapuria, University of Sheffield
Friedlind Riedel, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Stefan Tarnowski, Columbia University/Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Deniz Türker, Rutgers University

This symposium is organised by Peter McMurray (Music) and John David Rhodes (Centre for Film and Screen) and is sponsored by the Centre for Film and Screen, the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics, the Faculty of Music, and the School of Arts and Humanities, University of Cambridge

Planning committee: Heather Inwood (AMES), Leila Mukhida (MMLL), Alisha Jones (music), Damien Pollard (Clare College/Centre for Film and Screen)

Rita Coburn (left) and Mazen Kerbaj right

Image: Rita Coburn by Faye Sadou (left) and Mazen Kerbaj by Cristina Marx (right)

Contact details

For further information, email Peter McMurray:

Register to attend in-person or via Zoom