General Remarks on the Opening Day of the Conference

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Covert, Andrew


I think it appropriate to start with a few words on the uniqueness of this event and the privilege it represents. Though the more senior faculty may have experience with conferences on such specific topics as the history and epistemology of film studies, this is the first time I have had the opportunity to focus on these issues in such august company. Thus I would like to thank Martin Lefebvre, Eric Prince and the entire ARTHEMIS team for making the effort to gather us together and give us the chance to focus our attention on this often forgotten aspect of the discipline.

That being said, we cannot forget that such meta-critical endeavours have their associated risks and frustrations. I noted a distinct difference in tone between FSAC's generally peaceable sharing of new research projects and the tension that characterized some of today's discussion. While it can be relatively painless to impart the fruits of one's labors: the results of archival work, close readings and new theoretical directions to a room full of attentive colleagues; the exposure of the theoretical underpinnings of one's work and debate that addresses the very foundations of the discipline seems more personal and potentially fractious by comparison. I find however that such collegial tension in no way detracts from the importance of our inquiry. In fact I see it as an indication of the value we attach to these ideas and the passion which attends any discussion of the difficult issues that ARTHEMIS seeks to address.
Though the discussions today may have been strained at points, I feel the first day of our meeting has been a successful one. Despite conflicting positions, the inevitable frustration of time constraints and the exhaustion associated with such an intense schedule, I feel it important to remind myself of the uniqueness of this event and the learning process it represents.
ARTHEMIS does work that is not everywhere pursued with the same attention and diligence that was in evidence today. We are honoured by the recognition that all of the attendees confer on this organization, our department and Concordia University as a whole. I applaud all of the speakers today for their wide variety of perspectives and the bravery necessary in confronting a room as stacked with experts as our lecture hall was today.
Here's hoping for more of the same tomorrow

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