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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
<http://www.filmandhistory.org>www.filmandhistory.org
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 
environment
·         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 ( http://www.filmandhistory.org


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