Journeys, Detours, Breakdowns
The 2015 Film & History Conference

CFP: Journeys Into, Through, and Beyond Disabilities and Difference

The experience of a severe, disabling injury or illness begins a challenging, painful, sometimes desperate journey, as an individual struggles to cope with the consequences, overcome limitations, and find ways to regain some control and purpose in life. The journey includes, in many cases, not only that individual but also family members and close friends. Congenital differences and disabilities often lead down a very different path—one that is longer, more fundamental to the development of identity, and more focused on the journey itself than on a “destination” of recovery or rehabilitation.

Representing such journeys on film is a very challenging artistic task, but the efforts to do so have often made us much more aware of and concerned for the experience of disability and difference. From the sentimental depiction of blindness in Chaplin’s City Lights, to the struggles with paralysis from war wounds in The Men, to the effort to achieve self expression in The Miracle Worker, to the experience of mental illness in Girl, Interrupted, and to the tragic descent into Alzheimers in Still Alice, these deeply personal stories have made possible both great works of cinematic art and breakthroughs in public awareness.

This area invites proposals for 20-minute papers that examine films and television shows that have explored how individuals and families have made and continue to make such journeys through disabilities and difference.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are welcome. All proposals must include an abstract and contact information, including an email address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting see the Film & History website (

Please email your 200-word proposal by 1 June 2015 to the area chair:

Vincent Casaregola
St. Louis University


Movie Posters