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February 2006, Week 4


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Tobias Hochscherf <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 27 Feb 2006 13:02:26 -0000
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Call for Papers

Area: World War II:  England

2006 Film & History Conference
"The Documentary Tradition"
8-12 November, 2006
Dolce Conference Center - Dallas, TX

Although British cinemas were initially closed in at the beginning of war,
Whitehall soon discovered the vital role of films in modern warfare and set
up the Ministry of Information (MoI) Films Division in order to coordinate
and supervise the use of wartime film propaganda. However, the institution,
which was rather hastily set up, was flawed and anything but a great
success. Owing to its many difficulties ranging from organizational problems
to individual incompetence, it was repeatedly criticized and even dubbed the
"Ministry of Dis-Information" and "Ministry of Muddle". Later, when it
overcame these preliminary obstacles it developed into one of Britains most
powerful tools in the war: besides newsreels and short films its
documentaries were useful for direct and immediate short-term information
and instruction. A pivotal achievement of the Films Division was, among
other things, its successful campaign against American neutrality by
influencing American view on a war they principally knew through British
eyes, as historian Nicholas John Cull argues. Moreover, British wartime
documentary filmmakers were important for spreading the concept of 'the
people's war.' 

This Area, comprising multiple panels, is a part of the Film and History
League's "The Documentary Tradition" conference. It will take place at Dolce
Conference Center - Dallas, TX from 8-12 November 2006. Further details can
be found at 

Proposals, not exceeding 500 words, along with a brief biographical note
should be sent by 20 July 2006 to
Either Christoph Laucht, Area Chair, University of Liverpool, School of
Modern Languages (German),
Modern Languages Building, Chatham Street, Liverpool, L69 7ZR, UK. Email
[log in to unmask] 
Tobias Hochscherf, Area Chair, Tobias Hochscherf, Northumbria University,
History of Art, Design & Film, School of Arts and Social Sciences, Lipman
Building,, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8ST, UK. Email:
[log in to unmask]

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