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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Studies in Eastern European Cinema

For a Special Issue on
Spies and secret agents on Eastern European screens

Manuscript deadline
03 January 2022

Cover image - Studies in Eastern European Cinema

Special Issue Editor(s)

Eva Näripea, The National Archives of Estonia
[email protected]

Dirk Hoyer, Tallinn University
[email protected]

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Spies and secret agents on Eastern European screens

While various generic manifestations of popular cinema in Eastern Europe have attracted increasing scholarly attention, as testified, for instance, by special issues of SEEC devoted to sci-fi and musicals, a research gap can still be observed regarding the espionage genre in the region, despite the fact that some of the Eastern European titles of this variety have become box office hits. The lukewarm academic interest in Eastern European spy thrillers thus far can perhaps be partly explained by the low cultural prestige of the genre and its assumed adherence to the hegemonies and realpolitik of the Cold War – implicit preconceptions that the proposed special issue is designed to address.

The height of the Cold War in the 1960s obviously produced favourable conditions for a flood of filmic spies and counter-spies on both sides of the Iron Curtain. In addition to investigations of the socialist secret agents on screen – both cinematic and televisual, this special issue strives to provide a platform for research on representations of the secret services and intelligencers in the changing political contexts of the 20th and 21st centuries – from the first appearances of spies in silent cinema to the most recent, post-communist renderings of undercover operations in both fictional and documentary form of the moving image. Here, the character of the spy is interpreted in a multifaceted way, ranging from international spies, agents of domestic secret services and industrial espionage to various types of investigators on a clandestine mission.

Aside from screen stories with a central focus on clandestine affairs, we also encourage studies on works that present secret agents in a range of generic frameworks, such as historical dramas, biopics or comedies.

Some of the possible topics and approaches include:

  • The espionage genre and cinematic secret agents before World War II
  • Spy films and Cold War
  • Post-communist spies and post-communist portrayals of socialist secret agents
  • Non-fictional representations of spies and clandestine affairs
  • Gender dynamics of the espionage genre
  • The shifting transnational currents and conventions of the spy thriller, including those in the West
  • Comparative studies of the spy genre in the cinemas of Eastern Europe and the rest of the world
  • Genre hybridization
  • Auteurs of spy films
  • Production histories and patterns related to the genre

Equally encouraged are submissions of case studies of single films (or authors), comparative analyses of screen works from two or more Eastern European countries and surveys of on-screen clandestine affairs in the context of various political systems in a particular national cinema or sub-region.

Submission Instructions

Proposal Deadline: 3 October 2021

Manuscript Deadline: 03 January 2022

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