Film & History 2013 Conference
Making Movie$: The Figure of Money On and Off the Screen

They Work Hard for the Money:
Gender, Labor, and Livelihood

Deadline for Abstracts: July 1, 2013

Work and the workplace serve as the context and the focus of countless film and television narratives. In some, who makes money – and how – seems to be taken for granted, while in others it is the central problem. This area seeks submissions that consider the ways in which money, and the work done to earn it, are – or are not – gendered in cinematic and televisual representations.

On television, comic working-class figures such as Laverne and Shirley, complex crime fighters such as Mary Shannon (In Plain Sight) and Grace Hanadarko (Saving Grace), and post-divorce professionals such as Alicia Florrick (The Good Wife) or Dani Santino (Necessary Roughness) create a robust definition of “working girl.” Those images are reinforced and amplified on the silver screen in Cinderella stories such as Maid in America, family dramas such as Baby Boom, and even action films such as Salt and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Do these characters, as wage earners and career women, face challenges and concerns that are different or similar from those of generations past? In what ways does their status as women inform their orientation to work and money?

Similarly, what are the taken-for-granted norms for male workers on the big and small screen? Do Don Draper of Mad Men and Harvey Spector of Suits respond differently to the pressures to succeed than did their television predecessors in series such as The Dick Van Dyke Show or L.A. Law? Has the era of the land/oil/big money patriarch passed (Dallas), or is it experiencing a revival? Is the disaffected working class in television (Movin’ On) and film (Swing Shift) portrayed as predominantly male? How do cinematic and televisual narratives portray those who earn no money at all (Mr. Mom)?

This area, comprising multiple panels, welcomes proposals on the subject of gender, class, and wealth in films and television programs. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

Proposals for individual papers should include a 200-word abstract and the name, affiliation, and contact email of the presenter. Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter.

Deadline for Abstracts: July 1, 2013

For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see:

Please send submissions or queries to the area chair:

Dr. Laura Mattoon D’Amore
Roger Williams University


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