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: The Gods Must Be Crazy - The Intrusion of Technology


While some film and television genres, like spy movies and thrillers, seem ready-made to incorporate science and technology, a whole host of others do not evoke automatic connections with science or technology. In fact, some genres even have a certain anti-technology aspect to them. Westerns, for example, hark back to an apparently simpler time. Any advance in technology still seems more analog than digital in scope: the repeating rifle, the steel plow, the Iron Horse, and barbed wire. Pirate movies, too, through generic necessity, ignore modern innovations. Who needs technology in a buddy movie or a chick flick?


And yet technology is often interpolated into non- or anti-technological genres. The romance film The Shop Around the Corner (1940) is remade as You've Got Mail (1998), with snail-mail replaced by email. High Noon (1952) jumps to Jupiter in the Sean Connery remake Outland (1981). What happens to these genres when advanced technology is introduced? How do the new-fangled gadgets or alien settings or revolutionary paradigms change an otherwise anti-technological genre? Conversely, in what ways does an anti-technological genre affect how technology is used, either in the film or in our culture?


This area investigates the interpolation or intrusion of technology into those film genres not usually associated with gizmos, automation, robots, or anything else "state of the art." Presentations may focus on individual films and/or TV programs. Genres to consider include (but are not limited to) comedy, musicals, westerns, pirate movies, chick flicks, romances, prison movies, and art films. 


Paper topics might explore why a certain genre is not usually associated with science and technology, how the technology pushes at the edges or the very nature of the genre (either supporting or thwarting our expectations), which genres seem able to incorporate technology (and why), or other discussions focusing on the intersection (or collision) of technology with non-technologically oriented genres. 


Please send your 200-word proposal by May 1, 2008, to the area chair:


Brett Westbrook, Chair of The Gods Must Be Crazy - The Intrusion of Technology Area

St. Edward's University

3001 S. Congress Avenue

Austin, TX 78704

Email: [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 second-round proposals: 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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