Journeys, Detours, Breakdowns
The 2015 Film & History Conference

CFP: Explorers and Exploration

“The end of all our exploring,” T. S. Eliot wrote, “will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.” Discovery, though the inevitable product of exploration, is but one of many motivations for it. Explorers have ventured “over the next hill” in search of fame and fortune, converts and conquests, to gather scientific knowledge and to satisfy their own curiosity. They have reached the peaks of the world’s mountains, the depths of its seas, and the remotest corners of its surface. They have left footprints on the Moon, robots on Mars, and calling cards in the space between the stars.

This area, comprising multiple panels, welcomes papers dealing with any depiction of exploration on film or television: documentary or drama, realistic or fantastic, set in the past, present, or imagined future. How have film and television portrayed the great explorers of the past, and how have those portrayals evolved with historians’ understanding of them? How do the conventions of sea stories, jungle adventures, and space epics shape depictions of exploration on screen? How do portrayals of scientist-explorers like Indiana Jones challenge—or reinforce—our stereotypes about scientists? How have explorers used film and television to document, promote, and fund their explorations? How have onscreen tales of exploration promoted (or critiqued) narratives of nationalism, imperialism, and Manifest Destiny?

Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

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:

A. Bowdoin Van Riper
Independent Scholar

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