- Looking for Satellites
We began our tenure of Cinema Journal at the end of a volume, with issue 52:4, and this issue appears one year later. During that exhausting and inspiring year we have put many of our initial plans in place for the journal and seen them start to evolve.
Cinema Journal, as many readers told us at the SCMS Conference of March 2014, feels subtly changed and still-changing. Our conscious decision to engage with and offer a platform to the SCMS Caucuses has clearly shaped the In Focus section—led by the Women’s Caucus and the Queer Caucus in the recent past, with an African American and Latino/a focus coming in the near future—while our expansion onto a range of online platforms has shaped the form of the journal itself.
The journal itself—the object in your hands—remains a glossy black text, retaining its prestige and status and maintaining its stately progress from 1967 to 2014 and beyond. But the concept of Cinema Journal—what the journal “is”—has broadened. Around that central, solid hub there now circulates a range of satellites, which encourage more interaction with the journal’s texts and enable CJ to engage more quickly and dynamically with the fast-moving disciplines of cinema and media studies.
Thanks in large part to Christine Becker, in the new post of Online Editor, Cinema Journal now includes “Afterthoughts and Postscripts” (on the SCMS website), which invites authors to reflect on their own articles in the month they are published; a quarterly In Focus week at In Media Res, where contributors curate a clip related to their essay; online Teaching Dossiers, Professional Notes, and Archival News; regular conference reports hosted by Antenna; and the dedicated Cinema Journal podcast, Aca-Media, hosted by Becker with Michael Kackman.
Our last issue provided a striking example of the relationship we see between the “hub” and the “satellites,” with different formats playing to their own strengths to result in a more dynamic, multidimensional text. The Spreadable Media round-table, in our Book Review section, is an important discussion on fan studies that, we hope, has its significance confirmed by its place in a long-standing print journal. However, a traditional journal also restricts length and word count, and so a fuller, more immediately accessible and searchable version of the roundtable was published online in Transformative Works and Cultures. Of course, to those who approach the discussion through Transformative Works and Cultures, that journal will be the hub, and we will be the satellite; such definitions are relative to the reader’s position.
Our most recent joint initiative was launched at the SCMS Conference, in a packed-in 9:00 a.m. panel. This new journal, [in]Transition, is supported by Cinema [End Page 1] Journal and MediaCommons, and it signals our shared commitment to the rigorous study of video essays and alternative forms of scholarship. Again, though, [in]Transition is not a CJ spin-off, and there will be readers who reach our print version through their website.
I include the link below, then, to convey a sense of network rather than a hierarchy. For the CJ team, of course, it is hard to avoid seeing our journal as a hub: we inhabit and are immersed in it, and will be for the next few years. But our goal was always to enable, to encourage, to interact and engage with other projects, rather than to enlist them. Cinema Journal is a node in a vast constellation; it is not a Death Star. We are proud of our success in reaching out to and connecting with the other initiatives in this disciplinary system, and we are grateful to them for speaking to and working with us.
www.cinemajournalonline.com [End Page 2]