NEW Call for Papers

Ekphrasis. Images, Cinema, Theory, Media. Issue 1/2020


Poetics of the Borders: Meeting Points and Representational Border-Crossings in Contemporary Central and Eastern European Cinema


The research of migrant or diasporic cinema represents a well-established tradition in film studies today. The analysis of movies representing migrants, narrating the story of migration, centered on displaced individuals and communities affected by the influx of migrants has produced insightful scholarship. From the influential concept proposed by Hamid Naficy (An Accented Cinema: Exilic and Diasporic Filmmaking. Princeton University Press, 2001), explaining the formation of ”exilic and diasporic” practices in recent cinema, to the mapping of the cultural impact of migration, as is the case of the volume edited by Eva Rueschmann (Moving Pictures, Migrating Identities. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 2003), the issues of traversing from one culture to another and the various representations of the “Others” in movies remain an important part of academic debates.

Some recurrent approaches in recent literature view these experiences from the perspective of the formation of self-identity, representation of otherness and marginality, of transnational mobility, economic inequity or multicultural interactions. Previous works on these topics, like the edited volume by Daniela Berghahn and Claudia Sternberg (European Cinema in Motion Migrant and Diasporic Film in Contemporary Europe. Palgrave 2010), have discussed extensively the transformative power of migration in contemporary European societies. The movement of diasporic populations, especially the flow of migrants from “New Europe” (countries like Poland or Romania) to the “Old Europe” (mostly Western countries), together with its complex transnational effects, either political, economic or social have been widely used as cinema subjects. The repercussions of migration in terms of self-representations, the representation of alterity and the social identities, have also been integrated into many research subjects covering the effects of post-colonialism and post-communism.

Some of the topics published about the way in which cinema represents the post-Cold War Europe, when some of the largest migration processes have happened, have sometimes emphasized negative dimensions. Innumerable films, for example, about the lives of immigrants in the West have showcased the pervasive effects of criminal phenomena such as prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation, disenfranchised and homeless migrants turning to criminal activities or the trauma of dislocation and the impossibility of integration.

Today, these anxieties related to the violence and negative dimensions of migration are reiterated in many media narratives. Media representations either exaggerate the threat of “migrant caravans” or cultivate the fears of local communities, incited by scares about unruly foreign barbarians supposedly raping and killing, disrupting their “normal lives” or engaged in a menacing take-over of the “civilized West.” All these themes have entered the public and political discourse and moviemakers have frequently included them in their productions. Responding to such negative stereotypes, researchers have increasingly focused on the darker aspects of migration in cinema. There are now many relevant discussions exploring the complex and sometimes problematic relationships between host countries and influxes of migrants and the related challenges of racism, xenophobia, inequality and illegal movement of people, as illustrated by the discussions on migration and mobility edited by Nilgün Bayraktar (Mobility and Migration in Film and Moving Image Art: Cinema Beyond Europe, Routledge 2016). As Central and Eastern Europe has been confronted with one of the most important geopolitical and demographic transformations in recent years, with a massive wave of migrants coming from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other places fleeing war, poverty and political repression, these issues have become part of media discourses and cinematic representations. Yet once again, this has resulted in a very narrow way of dealing with this phenomenon, concentrating on notions like “Fortress Europe” (e.g. Loshitzky, 2010), or the more conflictual paradigm of the “clash of cultures,” treating the manifestations of migration in binary terms.

In order to overcome the limitations of these interpretations, based on the oppositions that sometimes have, in fact, been invented by negative media narratives, frequently based on stereotypical portrayals or, alternatively, manipulations of reality and facts, another point of view is necessary. While the commonplace of dealing with migration is often related to violence, sexual aggression, or an imminent threat to “order,” the notion of “breaking the boundaries” should be changed from the “traditional othering” to a more inclusive understanding (Guido Rings, The other in contemporary migrant cinema: imagining a new Europe? Routledge 2016).

The current call for papers is intended as an effort to refocus the current scholarship of the cinema on migration to provide a change of paradigm in researching representations of migration. This is an invitation to academics and practitioners who study issues related to migration from multiple perspectives. Here we are proposing two main notions: that of the poetics of the borders and meeting points. The “borders” and the “meeting points” are not defined in terms of contrasting identities, separating cultures and societies. Instead, they are oriented toward dealing with shared emotions, spaces, representations, and experiences and go beyond the stereotypical trope of locals meeting strangers, and “us” versus “them,” instead emphasizing the quality of the contact and discovery of the Other (regardless of change happening or not). We are searching for narratives that are not mainly about widely perceived negative aspects of migration, such as conflicts, sexual exploitation, harassment, and trafficking, and we seek to move beyond the concept that “they are coming/we are leaving.”

This is not yet another research project about how people feel when migrating; nor is it about describing a particular socio-political act. Although chronologically based on the films of the last decade, analyzing the effects of the mass exodus taking place after 2010 and its effects in recent cinematic productions, it is about looking for the relevant impact in this decade (2010-2019) on changing border interactions as well as local, regional and global transformations, including the problems related to the so-called Arab Spring, the war in Syria, the EU expansion process, Grexit, Brexit, and the Mediterranean and Balkan Route migrant crises. But mostly it is about what happens when people on the move meet each other in mobile/fluid contexts. The metaphor of the “meeting point” is used here in order to redefine not only the spaces of contact, but also to close the emotional, psychological and cultural chiasmus between these meetings.

This call is not limited to film studies specialists as we invite scholarly contributions from any discipline (political sciences or history, for example) or methodological approach (including practitioners) who are interested in providing a new view on the manifestation of migration in media representations (including photography and video installations). The main goal of this special issue on migration is to open the definitions of border crossing beyond the existing literature and the submission of innovative approaches from beyond the methodological framework of film theory are encouraged.



Possible topics of interest include the following key concepts, but are not limited to:


  • Border crossing and meeting points in cinema representations, narratives and character development

  • Border-crossing between media in the context of representing border transgressions and interactions

  • Narratives at the borders

  • Aesthetic functions of borders

  • Political border-crossings and overcoming other ideological barriers

  • Border-crossing in terms of self-representation and representation of others

  • Border-crossing and reconfiguration of otherness

  • Meeting-points in terms of urban spaces (including representations of one’s own identity and identity of others within the city-space)

  • Meeting-points of memory and recovery from traumatic memories

  • Cinematic meeting points: borders, hotels, private houses/spaces, motorways, restaurants

  • Themes and recurrent motifs related to borders, interactions, communities in various media representations

  • The absence of otherness

  • Cultural practices based on solidarity, shared values and integrative cooperation

  • Methodological issues related to media representations of border-crossing, including the notion of migratory media

  • Comparative media representations (between cinema and other forms of cultural production)

Guide for authors:

We welcome proposals for papers from theoretical approaches and practice-based researchers or artists.

Deadline for proposal submission: November 1st, 2019.

Notification of acceptance: January 15, 2020

Final submission deadline: March 15, 2020

See more details: here

For further details, please contact Doru Pop, email:, or Mirna Solic, email









Call for papers Ekphrasis. Images, Cinema, Theory, Media

Vol. 22, Issue 2/2019


Crossing Narrative Boundaries between Cinema and other Arts and Media

Issue editors: Fátima Chinita and Liviu Lutas



From times immemorial people have been telling stories to one another; humanity at large as well as entire civilizations have been built open this storytelling impetus. First orally, later through other media and art forms, stories have spread among cultures, eras, and generations engaging an ever-growing dissemination. Technical and technological developments have helped in this enterprise, across a vast array of long-lasting and canonical art forms as well as more popular and recent ones.

Film is precisely at that intersection, which makes it a privileged form for media confluences at the service of narrative spreading.

But how does this dialogue between film and other media and/or art forms operate? How are stories conveyed form the former to the latter(s), and vice versa? To what purpose and through what means?

What, if anything, changes in that transposition, and what remains the same? How does creativity work at this border-crossing and exactly what does it entail? How can film and other media be contained in or influence one another, not just in fictional-oriented works, but also, in keeping up with the times, in more factual and self-representative artistic outputs?


Volume 22, issue 2/2019 of Ekphrasis looks for novel and creative approaches on film and mediality at large, be it dual-, multi-, -inter or transmediality. We aim to contribute to the reflection on media collaboration from the perspective of the content, i.e. the subject of the films and other art works, i.e., its narrative aspects, whether fictional or not. This, of course, is highly influenced by the nature of the media/arts involved.

Therefore, we will prioritize submissions that are solidly grounded on theoretical work already published on this field and that combine the argument on content with the requirements made by the different media/arts involved.


Suggested Topics: (not limited to this sample)

Intertextuality, intermediality, intramediality.

Mediation, remediation, transmediation.

Art forms as qualified media.

Phenomena of hybridization.

Transfer among media.

Narrative adaptation, appropriation.

Cinematic ekphrasis.

Allusion, quotation, pastiche, parody, motifs.

Remakes, sequels, prequels, spin-offs, reboots.

Transmedia storytelling projects.

Cinematic worlds and other media.

Impossible worlds, characters, and narrative structures across media.

Medium specificity and collaboration among media/arts.

Palimpsest, embedding, layering.

Narrative genres in-between or across media.

Alternate realities, reworking facts and fiction.

Myths, legends, fairytales and post-celluloid adaptation.


Deadline for abstracts of between 700 and 1000 words: March 30th 2019.

Acceptance notice: April 15th 2019.

Final submission is due AUGUST 30th 2019.

Date of publication: DECEMBER 30th 2019.


Both proposals and final texts should be in English and should follow the style sheet available on our

website ( The final submission should include: a

5,000-8,000-word article, including a 150-word abstract, 5-7 keywords, a list of references (only the

cited works) and a 150-word author's bio. Proposals and final submissions should be formatted as

Word documents and sent to: and


The articles should be original material not published in any other media before. 


Selected bibliography:

BERNHARDT, Walter (ed.). Selected Essays on Intermediality by Werner Wolf 1992-2014: Theory

and Typology, Literature-music Relations, Transmedial Narratology, Miscellaneous

Transmedial Phenomena. Amsterdam: Brill / Rodopi, 2017.

BURKE, Liam. The Comic Book Film Adaptation: Exploring Modern Hollywood’s Leading Genre.

Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2016.

DYER, Richard. Pastiche. London and New York: Routledge, 2007.

EDER, Jens, Fotis Jannidis, and Ralf Schneider (eds). Characters in Fictional Worlds:

Understanding Imaginary Beings in Literature, Film, and Other Media. Bilingual edition

English/German. Berlin and New York: Walter De Gruyter GmbH & Co, 2010.

ELLESTRÖM, Lars. Media Transformation: The Transfer of Media Characteristics Among Media.

New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

----------. Transmedial Narration: Narratives and Stories in Different Media. Basel: Springer

Nature Switzerland AG, 2019.

ENSSLIN, Astrid. Literary Gaming. Cambridge (Massachusetts) and London (UK): The MIT

Press, 2014.

GENETTE, Gérard. Palimpsests: Literature in the Second Degree. Lincoln and London: University of

Nebraska Press, 1997 [1982].

GRISHAKOVA, Marina and Marie-Laure Ryan (eds). Intermediality and Storytelling. Berlin and

New York: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co., 2010.

HUTCHEON, Linda. A Theory of Parody: The Teachings of Twentieth-Century Art Forms (2 nd

edition. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2000 [1985].

----------. A Theory of Adaptation (2 nd edition). London and New York: Routledge, 2013 [2006].

JENKINS, Henry. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Collide. New York and London: New

York University Press, 2006.

KUKKONEN, Karin and Sonja Klimek (eds.). Metalepsis in Popular Culture. Berlin and New York:

Walter De Gruyer GmbH & Co, 2017.

LOOCK, Katheen and Constatine Verevis (eds.). Film Remakes, Adaptations and Fan Productions:

Remake/Remodel. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

LOPEZ-VARELA AZCARATE, Assunción and Ananta Charan Sukla (eds.). The Ekphrastic Turn:

Inter-Art Dialogues. Champaign (Illinois, US): Common Ground Publishing, 2015.

PAVEL, Thomas G. Fictional Worlds. Cambridge (Massachusetts) and London (UK): Harvard

University Press, 1986.

PROPP, Vladimir. Morphology of the Folk Tale. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984 [1928].

RYAN, Marie-Laure. (ed.). Narrative Across Media: The Languages of Storytelling. Lincoln and

London: University of Nebraska Press, 2004.

RYAN, Marie-Laure and Jan-Noël Thon (eds.). Storyworlds Across Media: Towards a Media-

Conscious Narratology. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2014.

SAGER EIDT, Laura M. Writing and Filming the Painting: Ekphrasis in Literature and Film.

Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2008.

WOLF, Werner. “Narrative and Narrativity: A Narratological Reconceptualization and its Applicability

to the Visual Arts”, Word & Image: A Journal of Verbal/Visual Enquiry, Vol. 19, No. 3

(3003), pp. 180-197.

ZATLIN, Phyllis. Theatrical Translation and Film Adaptation: A Practitioner's View. Bristol:

Multilingual Matters, 2005.



Ekphrasis is a peer-reviewed academic journal, edited by the Faculty of Theatre and Television, “Babes-Bolyai” University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, indexed by Emerging Sources Citation Index (Clarivate Analytics), ERIH PLUS, EBSCO, NSD, and CEEOL.

For more information and submission guidelines, please visit: