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April 2007, Week 3


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"Cynthia J. Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 16 Apr 2007 19:48:04 -0400
text/plain (77 lines)
Call for Papers
Environmental Documentaries: Assessing the Reel Environment
2008 Film & History Conference
“Film & Science: Fictions, Documentaries, and Beyond”
October 30-November 2, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
First-Round Deadline: November 1, 2007

AREA: Environmental Documentaries

With An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore proved the power of documentary to
teach a public audience about environmental issues, a power that was taken
seriously by the Motion Picture Academy of the Arts. Lesser-known
environmental documentaries, often used in science classes or shown on
television, deserve critical attention, as well. Films like Cane Toads,
Blue Vinyl, and Up Close and Toxic invite significant methodological,
aesthetic, and political questions: How do filmmakers translate
science/scientific issues for public consumption? How do documentary and
fictional treatments of similar environmental topics compare with each
other? How can grassroots documentary films be used for political change?

This area invites analyses of all varieties of environmental documentaries,
including international films (e.g., Taj Mahal--Beyond the Love Story,
India; Washed Away, Canada; A Big Lake, Belgium) and films on topics
ranging from pollution, recycling, transportation, energy, food, land
management, radiation, toxicity, etc. Presentations may feature analyses
of individual films and/or TV programs from historical perspectives (Nanook
to Harlan County, USA) or in terms of stylistic elements, production
values, funding, etc. Genres might include TV programs, instructional
films, newsreels and broadcast media, as well as traditional documentaries
(both short and feature-length).

Paper topics might include:
· Comparisons between films like An Inconvenient Truth and The Day
After Tomorrow
· Conflicts between “Man and Nature” or the human impact on the
· Global pollution problems (e.g., Mercury: A Hazard without Borders)
· The use of environmental documentaries in science education
· An analysis of documentaries about the same topic but reaching
opposite conclusions

Please send your 200-word proposal by November 1, 2007 to

Sharon Zuber, Chair of the Environmental Documentaries Area
College of William and Mary
English and Film Studies
P.O. 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187
Phone: 757-221-3939; FAX: 757-221-1844
Email: <mailto:[log in to unmask]>[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
first-round proposals: November 1, 2007

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; and Emmy award-winning writer and producer John
Rubin. For updates and registration information about the upcoming
meeting, see the Film & History website (

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