Call for Papers - Repositioning Film Criticism. Critical Displacements among the Film Critics from 1930 to 1970: Space, Connections, Movements


The numerous and recurring cycles of institutionalization that film criticism has undergone throughout the decades have never fully disciplined this professional field, which is instead marked by a fruitful lack of specialization and uniformity. The history of film criticism therefore consists less of intellectual positions achieved once and for all than of cultural operators constantly moving across geographical space (for example along the center/periphery, or city/province axes, defined by the biographical experience of many cinephiles and film critics), across political, educational and military institutions (that are often the professional destinations of critics),  across different media system (with connections between publishing industry, radio, tv, and digital media) and national as well as cultural contexts. Film criticism creates both occasional and enduring connections by means of ritual moments (such as film festivals and heated controversies in the press) that redefine the geography of cultural production. Criticism is also the gateway to the world of intellectual production for traditionally marginalized and underrepresented subjects for reasons related to gender, class, ideology, race and religion, that is the practice that allows such intellectuals to enter well-established and respected professional environments

In accordance with the related research project “A private history of Italian film criticism 1930-1970” (funded by the Italian Ministry of Research), the purpose of this monographic issue is to invite articles that question film criticism as a relational system and as a practice generating physical and symbolic repositioning, displacements, and transgressions. The main focus is on Italian film criticism, although proposals shedding light on other national contexts are more than welcome.

Proposals revolving around written and non-written sources related to the work of film critics (such as correspondence, recordings, photographs, editorial materials, ephemera), as well as methodologies capable of highlighting innovative ways of visualising critical work (such as new cinema history and digital humanities), will be assessed with particular interest. The time span insists on a long period, in the conviction that this can reveal long-lasting dynamics, overall developments of institutionalisation processes, but also “encroachments” that transcend macro-historical caesuras. Moreover, the period examined (with particular regard to the 1930s/1940s and the 1970s) sees several generations of critics confronting each other, thus increasing the complexity and multidimensionality of the fluctuations in the field.

The monographic issue invites contributions concerning topics such as (the list is not meant to be exhaustive):

  • the relationship between centre/periphery and city/province in the geography of film criticism;
  • trajectories of film criticism and critics within media environments and contexts;
  • the generational - geographical gap (e.g. young provinces vs. snub old center)
  • the repositioning of film critics in professional and ideological terms;
  • travel, cooperation and transnational networks;
  • film criticism as a form of cultural diplomacy;
  • the film critics’ work environment;
  • the entry of film criticism into educational, cultural, religious and political institutions;
  • film criticism as a gateway to the cultural ecosystem for under-represented subjects (minorities, opposition communities, women).


 Submission details

Please send a 300/500-word abstract and a short bio to Jennifer Malvezzi, Andrea Mariani, and Paolo Noto at by November 12, 2022 – [subject: Repositioning Film Criticism+ name surname author(s)].

Notification of acceptance will be sent within November 22, 2022

If the proposal is accepted, the author(s) will be asked to submit the full article by February 02, 2023.

The articles must not exceed 5,000/6,000 words and may include images, clips, and links for illustrative purposes. Please, provide correct credits, permissions, and copyright information in order to be sure that the images, clips, and links are copyright free and can be published.

Contributions will be submitted to double-blind peer-review.

The issue will be published in June 2023.