Updated Call for Papers


2008 Film & History Conference

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

October 30-November 2, 2008

Chicago, Illinois

Third-Round Deadline: August 1, 2008 


Virtual Reality (VR) narratives challenge our perceptions of the world not just by simulating it but by opening up its very form and function to the rules of the computer environment. For the human player, life inside a virtual world-which can become surprisingly complex, as in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games (MMORPGS) like World of Warcraft and Second Life-begins to offer people the kinds of determinative choices that shape their characters in the outside world.

From the mid-1980s, in productions such as Tron and Star Trek: The Next Generation, filmmakers have explored the implications of VR technology on human identities. What is the connection between mind and body, for instance, if, as in The Matrix, the mind can be disembodied and placed inside a virtual world, complete with full sensory experiences? If the artificial world is more seductive than the real, what becomes of Baudrillard's "ecstasy of communication"? What are the implications for how we accommodate time and space when VR can instantly transcend both, as depicted in Existenz, The Thirteenth Floor, and Strange Days?

Proposals for papers are invited on, but not restricted to, representations of VR in the context of developing cinematic and VR technologies, notions of dream and altered states, philosophical debates on the mind/body, the senses and vision in particular, visual  pleasures and leisure, theoretical readings (such as Deleuze, Baudrillard, Freud, Lacan), the adaptation of role-playing games to film narratives, and the pastiching of other film genres and styles within the VR world. Where necessary, other forms of media such as MMORPGS, graphic novels, and television shows may be included in a paper to support evidence or analysis.

Please send your 300-word proposal by AUGUST 1, 2008, to the area chair:

Joan Ormrod, Chair, Place and Identity In Virtual Reality And Gaming On Film Area

Manchester Metropolitan University

Department of History of Art and Design

Righton Building

Cavendish St

Manchester UK

M15 6BG

Email: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[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: August 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 our Keynote Speaker, Dr. Roger D. Launius, Senior Curator of the Air and Space Division of the National Air and Space Museum, and former Chief Historian at NASA. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (

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