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Call for Papers: Film and Popular Memory

It has been argued that in the last three decades of the twentieth century,
memory was commodified and aestheticized as never before. This has been
linked to various factors, including diversifying markets for memory, the
growth of the heritage industry, the proliferation of technologies of
time-shifting and digital reproduction, and a representational economy of
recycling and pastiche. In a time when it is claimed that metanarratives of
history and progress have, themselves, been severely undermined, and when
the past has become increasingly subject to cultural mediation, textual
reconfiguration, and ideological contestation in the present, memory has
developed a new discursive significance.

This call for papers is for a collection of essays that will explore the
place of memory in popular film (from early cinema to the present),
especially as it relates to the articulation, and negotiation, of cultural
identity. Writing of particular transformations in American film since the
1970s, Robert Sklar suggests in Movie-Made America that historical memory
has become the touchstone of a movie¹s cultural power, replacing "a
traditional rhetoric of myths and dreams." I am seeking proposals for essays
that broadly explore the form and status of the "memory film" and that also,
at some level, engage with Marita Sturken¹s pointed suggestion that
"cultural memory is a field of cultural negotiation through which different
stories vie for a place in history." However, I am also interested in work
that examines the relation of film and popular memory prior to the 1970s and
that may even challenge Sklar¹s sense of periodicity.

Several works have looked specifically at the way that Hollywood revisits
and rewrites the historical past, notably Robert Burgoyne¹s Film Nation:
Hollywood Looks at U.S. History (1997) and Robert Brent Toplin¹s History by
Hollywood (1996). The proposed volume will look more broadly at the
intersection between film and popular memory. I would especially welcome
essays that:
… Thematically consider areas within memory studies such as trauma,
nostalgia, tradition, commemoration, amnesia, heritage etc.
… Historically consider particular moments or periods such as civil rights,
Vietnam, World War One, World War Two, the South, the West, the Kennedy
assassination (and other national traumata), labor history, the 1950s,
1960s, etc.
… Discursively approach the subject from perspectives such as cultural
studies, film studies, American studies, history, media studies, sociology,
and other relevant disciplines.
… Critically approach the subject in terms of production history, textual
analysis, marketing, critical reception, audience studies, cultural
politics.

Abstracts should be sent by NOVEMBER 15, 2000 to:
Dr. Paul Grainge
Department of American Studies
School of Humanities, Languages and Law
University of Derby
Kedleston Road DE22 1GB, UK.
Or send as an attached word document to [log in to unmask]

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