Since Fall 2017 Apertúra has been publishing thematic issues with the goal of mapping up and analyzing the field of (Hungarian) film studies, its heterogeneity regarding trends defining research, policy, education and theory. The conference organized by the journal’s editors in September 2018 also contributed to a diagnosis regarding the most important questions defining contemporary film studies. For the journal’s last issue in 2018, we would like to ask your help in continuing this project by answering the questionnaire below.

We share a set of essay questions pertaining to the larger context of the humanities, but focusing on film studies and its aspects related to public education as well as education at the tertiary level. Our goal with this set of questions has been to launch a common think-tank regarding issues that influence us all and include areas such as academic policy, research and education.

Our aim with formulating these questions in an occasionally provocative way was to offer points of connection for researchers and educators with diverse backgrounds and interests. The questions themselves are multidirectional, and may be also singled out from the set according to individual interests. At the same time we hope that the answers will also suggest possible bridges and relations between the questions themselves. Please regard this questionnaire a set of essay questions from which you should feel free to choose the ones you are impelled by, or even rearrange or combine them, but please indicate (e.g. with numbers) the questions you are answering.

I. Academic policy

1.The traditional role of universities is undergoing a transformation. Applied research is foregrounded as opposed to basic research; the humanities are losing their academic prestige and have to endure a growing pressure to solidify or reinvent their social legitimacy. What do you think of Friedrich Kittler’s project “to drive out the spirit from the humanities [Austreibung des Geistes aus den Geisteswissenschaften]”? Could you specify the social challenges that may, in your opinion, justify the existence of the humanities (and film studies within it) at the beginning of the 21st century?

II. Self-reflexive questions of the field

2. Interdisciplinarity has been a definitive call word of the past decades, frequently referring to the convergence of diverse disciplines (the same authors, texts and approaches rule the discourse of diverse disciplines). How can film studies specifically contribute to the explanations of cultural phenomena? Is there a danger that film studies will be dissolved in all-encompassing fields or “supersciences”, such as media studies, cultural studies or cognitive science, and that it will become a mere application of imported assumptions from these other disciplines? What is going to change if we start thinking within the framework of transdisciplinarity rather than interdisciplinarity? Should we consider traditional, aesthetics- and hermeneutics-oriented approaches outdated compared to the transdisciplinary frames of media studies, cultural studies and natural sciences?

3. Definitive problems within the field of film studies have been the problem of differentiating and choosing between art cinema and popular films (as the aesthetic preference of the educator-researcher) as well as the differences in the assumptions and methodologies dealing with these two types of films (e.g. the cinematic canon, national film history vs. cinema as a social or medial practice). How does this duality influence your research or educational practice?

4. How do you see the prospects and directions of film studies in the light of the present and the future of the medium of the moving image?

III. Public and tertiary education (and national curricula, such as the NAT in Hungary)

5. Which are the biggest challenges in teaching film at the tertiary level? Which social and medial transformations or questions of education and policy influence mostly the education of film? How should we differentiate best between the tasks of teacher training, liberal arts education and artistic training? Is there an emerging convergence among these fields (due to the scarcity of resources, the interest of students)?

6. Although the Hungarian National Curriculum regards the production and interpretation of the moving image and media contents as well as digital competence as crucial competencies, it still does not include moving image and media as a compulsory subject. If the National Curriculum considers these competencies as mere tools in developing effective communication, and disregards the aesthetic, historical and institutional aspects of media and moving images, a danger emerges that students will be merely applying the latest technological inventions. What are the most important functions of teaching moving images and media in public education, and how are these two related in your opinion? It is an existential or academic interest of professors working in higher education to have their specific competencies or educational program included in the National Curriculum. What models and good practices could help us reach the goals defined by public education?

Bonus question: Will there be film studies in 30 years, and if yes, what will it be like? Give us a utopian or dystopian picture of how the harmonization of public and tertiary education may or may not succeed, describe the directions of disciplinary changes, the role of film studies in future’s society, research and educational policy.

Szeged, 25th October 2018

The editorial board of Apertúra

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Apertúra Questionnaire 2018. Apertúra, 2018.ősz. URL: