Call: Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image (SCSMI) 2020 Conference

Call for Papers

The Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image (SCSMI) 2020 Conference
June 17-20, 2020
Prince Conference Center, Calvin University
Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Deadline for proposals: December 15, 2019

The Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image (SCSMI) invites proposals for presentations at its annual conference to be held June 17-20, 2020 at Calvin University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. SCSMI is an interdisciplinary organization made up of scholars interested in cognitive, philosophical, aesthetic, historical, psychological, neuroscientific, and evolutionary approaches to the analysis of film and other moving image media. Proposals should facilitate the society’s mission: to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue between moving image theorists, historians, critics, and philosophers, and scientifically‑oriented researchers working on moving image media.



A proposal may be for a long paper presentation, a short paper presentation, a poster/demonstration, or an author-meets-critics panel. Your proposal may be considered for multiple formats or just one, depending on which formats you believe will be suitable. In some cases, those who submit proposals designed for one format may be asked to revise their proposal for a different format.

Long Paper Presentation:

A 50 minute session divided between a 25 minute presentation and a 25 minute Q&A. This format is reserved for well-developed projects that present conceptually complicated ideas or extensive research data.

Short Paper Presentation:

A 25 minute session divided between a presentation of 15 minutes or less with the residual time used for discussion. This format is suitable for works in progress or research that may be presented more succinctly.

Author-Meets-Critics Panel:

An Author-Meets-Critics Panel is a pre-constituted panel focusing on outstanding publications of interest to the society, such as monographs or empirical studies offering important new insights.  The proposal should include names of the panel chair, participating author, and 1-3 critics who have agreed to be panel members. The panel proposer should not be the author of the work. The author of the work should be a member of the panel, but should not be chair of the panel. Only works published between March 2019 and September 2020 will be considered as the focus of such a panel.

Poster Presentation or Demonstration:

Any form of research display or demonstration. Posters may present empirical research, scholarship with a single question or thesis, short movies, essay films, or interactive installations. Presenters will display and discuss their research during a plenary session that will take place alongside a reception.


Proposals must be submitted as a single pdf file by email to The deadline for proposals is midnight (EST) December 15, 2019. Late proposals or those that do not fulfill the technical requirements stated below will not be considered. The content of your presentation should not have been presented elsewhere in an identical form.

Proposals must include:

  • Title
  • Preferred Format (short, long, poster presentation or demonstration, or author-meets-critics panel)
  • List of authors
  • Brief biographical statement for presenting author (25 – 100 words)
  • A proposal (500 – 800 words)
  • Bibliography of key sources (up to 5; use MLA or APA format)
  • A short abstract (80 – 160 words) for the conference program

Proposals will be selected based on merit, according to the following criteria:

  • The appropriateness of the topic to the interests of SCSMI
  • The conceptual clarity and intellectual rigor of the project
  • The project’s contribution to current understanding
  • The carefulness and thoroughness of the proposal

The deadline for proposals is midnight (EST) December 15, 2019. Notification of acceptance will be made by February 1st, 2020. If authors have selected multiple presentation formats, they will be assigned a format.

Presenters at SCSMI conferences must be current members of the Society. Nonmembers are free to submit a proposal but, if accepted, they must join SCSMI by March 15, 2020, or acceptance will be withdrawn. All presenters must be physically present at the conference to participate.

For more information about SCSMI, to join, or to learn more about membership costs and privileges, visit

Further questions about the conference, the abstract submission process, or any problems encountered during submission should be addressed to


The conference will take place at the Prince Conference Center of Calvin University, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A. The guest filmmaker will be writer/director Paul Schrader for a screening and discussion of Taxi Driver at Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids. The plenary speaker will be Vera Tobin, professor of cognitive science at Case Western Reserve University and author of Elements of Surprise: Our Mental Limits and the Satisfactions of Plot (Harvard University Press, 2018). Other conference guests may be included at a later date.

Grand Rapids is located in Western Michigan, roughly 30 miles from the beaches of Lake Michigan, 180 miles north of Chicago, and 160 miles West of Detroit. Grand Rapids and West Michigan are popular tourist destinations in the summer. More information about Grand Rapids and the conference venue can be found on SCSMI website through the links provided there.

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport has direct flights to dozens of cities and convenient connections to all airports.

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