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October 2007, Week 2


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Cynthia Miller <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 8 Oct 2007 14:20:33 -0400
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Call for Papers


2008 Film & History Conference

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

October 30-November 2, 2008

Chicago, Illinois

Second-Round Deadline: May 1, 2008


AREA: Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings


Upon the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in November, 2001, critic Roger Ebert proclaimed the film "a classic," predicting that it would be enjoyed for generations to come, much like The Wizard of Oz. A month later, he once again invoked the 1939 MGM classic in his review of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. In doing so, Ebert (perhaps inadvertently) hit on two important qualities shared by the series: their roots in the fantastic and their appeal to mythological structures - qualities that might make them especially relevant and appealing in the culturally divisive post-9/11 era.


The phenomenal popularity of both film series might suggest a revitalization of the genre film as a locus of contemporary mythology. To what extent do the conflicts in Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings mirror Western and global power struggles? How does the reliance on magic in both series tie into current debates over religion and science? How have these films (and others like them) sparked a renewed critical interest in structuralism, anthropology, and sociology? How do mythologies of magic control or revise scientific discourse? Does it matter that the Lord of the Rings films come from a more "literary" source than the pop-fiction of Harry Potter?  Or does the very popularity of the latter series strengthen its potential for mythologizing?


Papers and panels are invited on the topics of the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series (novels-to-films or films alone). Possible topics include but are not limited to the following:


Issues of adaptation

Fantasy genres

Psychological models

Mythological structures

Anthropological analyses

Gender and sexuality

Textual analysis

Publishing and/or film distribution practices

The films' use (or creation) of stars

Technological innovations in the films

Political allegory

Religious allegory

Fan cultures

Reception studies


Please submit all proposals by May 1, 2008, to the area chair:


Dr. Rodney Hill

School of Liberal Arts

Georgia Gwinnett College

1000 University Center Lane

Lawrenceville, GA 30043


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Submissions by email are encouraged.


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; second-round deadline: May 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 special-effects legend Stan Winston, our Keynote Speaker.  For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (

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