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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]>
Thu, 3 Jul 2008 08:14:11 -0400
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Updated Call for Papers



2008 Film & History Conference

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

October 30-November 2, 2008

Chicago, Illinois <> 

Third-Round Deadline: August 1, 2008


AREA: Scientific Icons


Beginning with The Story of Louis Pasteur in the late 1930s, a small but steady stream of films -- documentaries, dramas, and occasional comedies--have focused on the great scientists of the past.  Newton, Darwin, and Einstein have all had their turns on screen, as have J. Robert Oppenheimer (Day One, Fat Man and Little Boy, and the award- winning The Day After Trinity), Dian Fossey (Gorillas in the Mist),  James Watson and Francis Crick (The Race for the Double Helix), Marie and Pierre Curie (Madame Curie), and many others. These films have, for better or worse, a key role in shaping the public understanding of how science works.


This area welcomes all papers that deal with films and television programs depicting real scientists whose work was important enough or influential enough to give them iconic status at the time the film was made. The list of scientists in the preceding paragraph is meant to be suggestive, but by no means exhaustive.  "Scientist" is meant, for the purposes of this area, to include medical researchers (as in Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet or And the Band Played On) but to exclude engineers and inventors (as in The Story of Alexander Graham Bell and Young Thomas Edison).


Possible topics include, but are not limited to:


* Depictions of historic scientists in specific films or television programs

* Depictions of a particular scientist in multiple films and/or television programs

* Real scientists, fictionalized (Edward Teller/Dr. Strangelove, T. H. Huxley/Professor 


* Historic scientists on the A&E network's Biography

* Historic scientists in classroom films

* Use of dramatic conventions in telling "real" stories about scientists

* Real scientists in non-US film and television

* Documentaries about historic scientists

* Historic scientists as supporting players (e.g. Lord Kelvin in the 2005 Around the 

   World in Eighty Days)

* Patterns: Who gets films made about them? Who gets overlooked?


Please send your 200-word proposal (email is fine) by August 1, 2008 to:


A. Bowdoin Van Riper

Social and International Studies Department

Southern Polytechnic State University

1100 South Marietta Parkway

Marietta, GA 30060

Email: [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 our Keynote Speaker, Dr. Roger D. Launius, Senior Curator at the National Air and Space Museum, and former Chief Historian at NASA.  For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website ( <> ).



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