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July 2008, Week 1


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Cynthia Miller <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 2 Jul 2008 17:06:39 -0400
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Westerns and Science Fiction:  Horse Operas/Space Operas

2008 Film & History Conference

"Film & Science: Fictions, Documentaries, and Beyond"

October 30-November 2, 2008

Chicago, Illinois <> 

Third-Round Deadline: August 1, 2008


AREA:  Westerns and Science Fiction:  Horse Operas/Space Operas


Considerable critical work has been done on popular genres and on the formulas, themes, and character types associated with those genres.  The popularity of science fiction in print, in film, and on television alongside the popularity of the western in its various manifestations cannot be ignored--nor can media artifacts in which the two have been blended (the 1934 Gene Autry serial The Phantom Empire, for example) or in which one has provided a blueprint for the other (Star Trek as "a Wagon Train to the stars").   


Papers and/or panels should offer connections and/or disconnections between science fiction and westerns.  Obviously, the concept of the "frontier" is shared by both, but other possible topics of exploration include these:


Adaptation -- Star Trek and Wagon Train or Outland and High Noon

Autry's Phantom Empire and Lucas' Phantom Menace - The Queen Is In Danger!

The Westerns Within the Stars Wars saga

Spock & Kirk and Tonto & The Lone Ranger.

Firefly as Space Western

Buck Rogers and Roy Rogers, or Six-Guns and Ray Guns

Buster Crabbe of the B-Movies as Flash Gordon and as Billy the Kid

Colonization in the Western and in Science Fiction - The Empire Expands

Early 1950's TV:  From Captain Video and Space Patrol to Western Fare

The Faint Female in the Arms of a Robot/Indian/Monster/Outlaw - Images of Women in S-F and Western Films

Science Fiction and Westerns - Where Formulas Converge and When They Depart

The Graphic Novel Cowboys and Aliens

Reconstructed or Fragmented Genre Theory

The Western as Mythologized/Demythologized Past, Sci-Fi as Speculative Future



Please send your 200-word proposal by August 1, 2008, to the Area Chair:


Dr. Ray Merlock

Director, Interdisciplinary Studies

University of South Carolina Upstate

800 University Way

Spartanburg SC 29303

(864) 503-5646


E-mail: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]> 


Panel proposals for up to four presenters are also welcome, but each presenter must submit his or her own paper proposal. Deadline for third-round proposals: August 1, 2008. 


This area, comprising multiple panels, is a part of the 2008 biennial Film & History Conference, sponsored by The Center for the Study of Film and History. Speakers will include founder John O'Connor and editor Peter C. Rollins (in a ceremony to celebrate the transfer to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh); Wheeler Winston Dixon, author of Visions of the Apocalypse, Disaster and Memory, and Lost in the Fifties: Recovering Phantom Hollywood; Sidney Perkowitz, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Physics at Emory University and author of Hollywood Science: Movies, Science, & the End of the World; and Roger Launius, Chief Historian at NASA (1990-2002) and Senior Curator at Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, our Keynote Speaker.  For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website ( <> ).

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