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June 2010, Week 3


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Will Scheibel <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 14 Jun 2010 16:50:29 -0400
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Prospective panel for the 2011 Society for Cinema and Media Studies

Essay submissions sought that consider the relationship between film
authorship and citizenship with respect to Nicholas Ray, director of "They
Live By Night" (1949), "In a Lonely Place" (1950), "Johnny Guitar" (1954),
"Rebel Without a Cause" (1955), and "Bigger Than Life" (1956).

Ray was the “*cause célèbre* of the auteur* *theory,” as critic Andrew
Sarris put it, and yet unlike his senior colleagues Alfred Hitchcock or
Howard Hawks, he remains a director largely ignored by academic film
scholarship.  Marking his 100th birthday, this interdisciplinary panel aims
to revisit Ray in the wake of renewed interest in the director: his widow
Susan Ray is currently restoring his final film, "We Can’t Go Home Again"
(1976), for re-release in 2012; his daughter Nikka Ray is at work on a
memoir; and writer Patrick McGilligan is completing a new biography.  Rather
than taking a traditional auteurist reassessment based on style and
“personal vision” alone, we want to reframe authorship studies to explore
the communal responsibility and public life of the director at the
intersections of auteurism* *and civic discourse.  The tensions between
individuality and community, and rebellion and conformism, both in Ray’s
films and in his reputation working in the Classical Hollywood system, make
him a representative case study in this regard.  Through this lens, we want
to investigate more broadly how both the biographical legends and aesthetic
practices of directors articulate civic identity in ethical, social,
political, cultural, and national contexts.

Potential topics may include, but are not limited to the following:

Ray’s background in architecture, radio, and socialist theater

The transnational reception of Ray’s films in Europe during the 1950s and in
the U.S. during the 1960s and 1970s that led to his canonization as a
“Hollywood auteur”

The rise of youth culture and a youth market in the 1950s

Gender, sexualities, and whiteness: representation / identification

Screening social class

Space: rural vs. (sub)urban America

Place: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, the backroads of Oklahoma, “the
frontier,” etc.

Outlaws and folk heroes, celebrity, and the myth of “the rebel”

Marginalized figures, victims of society, and the politics of rebellion

Ray’s non-Hollywood films: "We Can't Go Home Again" (1973-76), "The Janitor"
(1974), and "Marco" (1978)

Film performance, stardom, and its social contexts: Ray's collaborations
with James Dean, Joan Crawford, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Ryan, and others

Ray’s international legacy and influence on the French New Wave, as well as
on filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Curtis Hanson, Jim Jarmusch, and Wim

Send 300 word abstract with 5 item bibliography and full academic CV (as
separate e-mail attachments) to: Steve Rybin ([log in to unmask]) and Will
Scheibel ([log in to unmask]).  Submitters will be notified as to the
status of their proposal by August 15, 2010.  Please visit the SCMS website
for more details about the 2011 conference:

Deadline for submissions: Sunday, August 8, 2010 11:59 PM EDT

Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: