The Golden Age(s) of the American
Golden Ages: Styles and Personalities, Genres and Histories
The 2014 Film & History Conference
DEADLINE for abstracts: June 1, 2014
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and of America’s commitment of ground troops in Vietnam; the 75th anniversary of the beginning of World War II; and the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. These are sobering milestones in a world still very much at war, and so it is a useful time to examine how film has shaped America’s cultural understanding of war in the past century.
The First World War began as Americans were commemorating the 50th anniversary of the American Civil War, and the first major American war film, D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation (1915), focused on that subject. American war films—whether anti-war films such as All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), propagandistic World War II films such as Wake Island or Bataan (both 1943), elegiac neo-World War II films released after Saving Private Ryan (1998), or the Vietnam war films that interrogated that war after the fact (such as Platoon, 1986)—have not only represented conflict, but often incited conflict as well, at least among viewers and critics.
This area invites 20-minute papers dealing with all aspects of war and its aftermath, from portrayals of combat to home front support of military efforts, and propaganda to protest. Papers may focus on any war, in any genre, across media.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
- War-founding fathers—representing the Revolution from Drums along the Mohawk to The Patriot
- Birthing and re-birthing a nation—visions and revisions of honor, race, and the American Civil War from Birth of a Nation through Glory
- “Light Cavalry Overtures”—America’s wars on the indigenous peoples
- Films to “Kick the Kaiser”—silent film goes “over there” during WW I
- The “real war will never get into the books” (or onto the screen) – the presence or absence of the actual veterans’ experience in Hollywood’s films
- World War II story and Cold War politics—the classic World War II films from 1949-1969
- Forgotten war in forgotten films—Korean War films from 1951-59
- Prisoners of Hollywood—divergent representations of American POWs
- What’s a woman doing here? Women as silenced voices in Hollywood’s vision of war
- Coming home—Hollywood envisions the returning veteran and the aftermath of war
- The films they carried—film and the burdens of the Vietnam War
- The war that never was—Cold War films from the fifties through the eighties
- Jarheads and Hurt Lockers—a quarter century of America’s wars in the Middle East
- Animated for war—animated visions of wars real and imaged
- Duty calling—virtual war and its discontents in video gaming
- The queer thing about war—camp humor, homo-social bonding, and the psychology of the war film
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. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (www.filmandhistory.org).
Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by 1 June 2014, to the area chair:
St. Louis University