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March 2016, Week 3


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Cynthia Miller <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 21 Mar 2016 19:03:29 +0000
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CFP: Thou Shalt Make Cinematic Images!  Jewish Faith and Doubt on Screen
An area of multiple panels for the 2016 Film & History Conference:
Gods and Heretics: Figures of Power and Subversion in Film and Television
October 26-October 30, 2016
The Milwaukee Hilton
Milwaukee, WI (USA)

DEADLINE for abstracts: June 1, 2016

AREA: Thou Shalt Make Cinematic Images!  Jewish Faith and Doubt on Screen

Despite Judaism’s commandment against making graven images of God, films representing Jewish faith in God—or doubt in the face of collective and personal catastrophes and competing worldviews—have abounded from the advent of the movie industry.  Since God cannot be visualized, movies must rely on depictions of an omnipotent historical and moral force, or a source of belief compelling Jews to endure martyrdom, persecution, and segregation, and to observe Jewish law and rituals.  Motion pictures about how God informs modern Jewish lives have become more varied with the emergence of Jewish denominationalism and secular ideologies, like socialism or Zionism, often pitting factions within the Jewish community against each other.  

This area welcomes papers and panels that explore how Jewish belief and disbelief in God are constructed by filmmakers in documentaries and feature movies. The following themes are suggestions and should not be construed as the only topics that would fit in this area:

•	The portrayal of Judaism in documentaries: Heritage: Civilization and the Jews (1984), A Life Apart (1997), and The Story of the Jews (2013).

•	Biblical epics: Abraham (1993), Solomon and Sheba (1959), David (1997), The Story of Ruth (1960), The Ten Commandments (1923, 1956), The Prince of Egypt (1998), and Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014). 

•	Historical films about the pre-modern Jewish experience: Masada (1981), The Disputation (1986), The Wandering Jew (1933), The Holy Inquisition (1974), The Jew (1996), Secret Passage (2004), and The Physician (2013). 

•	Feature films about the conflicts between religious and secular Jews: Fiddler on the Roof (1971).Hester Street (1975), The Wordmaker (1994), and Left Luggage (1998). 

•	The problem of theodicy in Judaism: Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), The Quarrel (1991), Then She Found Me (2007), God on Trial (2008), and A Serious Man (2009). 

•	Different expressions of Jewish faith: The Jazz Singer (1927), The Cantor’s Son (1937), The Chosen (1981), Pi (1998), Keeping the Faith (2001), Ushpizin (1994), Bee Season (2005), My Father My Lord (2007).

•	God, Gender, and Sexual Orientation:  Yentl (1983), Torch Song Trilogy (1988), A Price Above Rubies (1998), Kadosh (1999), Trembling Before God (2001), The Secrets (2007), Eyes Wide Open (2009), Fill the Void (2012), and Felix and Meira (2014). 

•	Comedies about Judaism: Bye Bye Braverman (1969), The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob (1975), The Frisco Kid (1975), History of the World Part I (1981), Leon the Pig Farmer (1992), When Do We Eat (2005), and For Your Consideration (2006).  

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

Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by 1 June 2016 to the area chair:

Professor Lawrence Baron
San Diego State University 
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