Call for Papers/Panels - Society for Animation Studies 32nd Annual Conference

Online Conference, June 14-18, 2021

* Applicants whose proposals were accepted for the 2020 conference see below

Proposal Submission Deadline: March 1, 2021

After postponing its 2020 conference, the Society for Animation Studies is pleased to invite panel and paper proposals for its 32nd annual conference. The conference organizing team has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and is now planning a completely virtual online conference.

All animation-related proposals will be considered, but applicants are encouraged to consider addressing the theme “Animate Energies” in their proposal.

The theme “Animate Energies” has many aspects. It can refer to the energy contained or represented in animation and the energy required to animate. The theme evokes animation’s dialectical definitions and practices—animating the inanimate, endowing with life, making objects move, and, in many cases, the tedious work or mechanical labor concealed behind expressions of freedom and possibility. It also evokes forces, powers, and resources that can be exploitative and exploited, oppressive and oppressed, that can generate resistance or activism, and that can produce or endure unforeseen events. Energy is typically measured by describing action and transformation within a system. Applying such an approach to animation can generate decentered or distributive views of the agency involved in the experience of animating or being animated.

The conference theme “Animate Energies” invites inquiry into the interdisciplinarity of animation and into the various elements of animation production, distribution, exhibition, and reception. This includes efforts to understand the forces holding together distinct media assemblages—national and transnational studios, distribution infrastructure, aesthetic traditions, fan communities, transmedia narratives, and combinations thereof. This theme encourages participants to consider how animation enhances thinking about media in terms of movements, flows, and currents.

This mode of inquiry includes comparing theories of animation to theories of mediation. Are claims that media constitute conditions and situations, extend and shape the human, create worlds, and structure being also the claims of animation? How might animation, in its many forms and definitions, draw attention to the energies of media or the activity, agency, and vitality of background conditions, structures, and environments, whether technological, economic, political, social, or ecological? Applicants submitting proposals are encouraged to engage the aforementioned ideas and the following topics, but all animation-related submissions will be considered:

  • animation theory and media theory
  • animation in science and technology studies
  • interdisciplinary animation/animation studies
  • animation and transmedia narratives or media mix
  • global or transnational geographies of animation
  • experimental animation
  • BIPOC animation
  • women in/of/and animation
  • neuro- and ability diverse animation
  • animation therapy
  • animation/animated sound/visual music
  • animation and game design
  • animation and comics/manga
  • animation and eco-criticism or sustainability
  • animation and political theory
  • animation and activism or political movements

Submission formats (Deadline: March 1, 2021)

Please submit all applications using this survey: SAS 2021 Submission

Required specifications for proposals:

  • 6 min micro talks: 150-word abstracts + 100-word biographical statement
  • 20 min conference papers: 300-word abstract + 3-5 bibliographic references + 100-word biographical statement
  • Pre-constituted 3-person panels: 300-word panel summary + 300-word abstract for each paper + 3-5 bibliographic references for each paper + 100-word biographical statement for each author
  • Screenings/workshops/roundtables/exhibitions: Proposals should be 350-500 words with project descriptions and links to support material. Please indicate the duration of the event, the number of participants expected, and its requirements for online participation. We welcome applications for curated screenings but request that accepted applicants secure exhibition rights from filmmakers or distributors.

Acceptance and Access

All letters of acceptance will be sent out by early April. Registration for all participants will be available through the conference website. We welcome participants to communicate any access needs through the online registration process. Applicants whose proposals are accepted need to be paid members of the SAS in order to present at the conference.

* If your proposal was accepted for the 2020 conference, please resubmit it through the portal for the 2021 conference and select the resubmission option. Participants whose proposals were accepted for the 2020 conference are guaranteed a spot if they use the same proposal for the 2021 conference. Minor changes to the proposal are acceptable (dates, titles, etc.) but it should be at least 95% the same. This applies to pre-constituted panel/workshop proposals as well. Since these are reviewed as a whole, if one paper changes substantially, the entire panel proposal needs to be submitted as a new proposal for blind review. If a presenter who was accepted as part of a panel would like to submit their accepted proposal as an independent paper not part of a pre-constituted panel, they will need to submit a new proposal which will be subject to review.

Contact the conference team at