CFP: Religion, Cinema, and the Golden Ages
An area of multiple panels for the 2014 Film & History Conference:
Golden Ages: Styles and Personalities, Genres and Histories
October 29-November 2, 2014
The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club
Madison, WI (USA)
DEADLINE for abstracts: June 1, 2014

AREA: Religion, Cinema, and the Golden Ages
Religion can be located throughout the history and output of practically every filmmaking nation, from censorship and boycotting, to scriptural epics and allegories, to the creation and proliferation of faith-based entertainment industries. Film industries have a long history of turning to religious texts for inspiration; and studios, assuming a built-in audience (both foreign and domestic), continue to be drawn to these public-domain tales of epic adventures that are ripe for big-budget, special effects-laden adaptations.
This area will analyze how cinema has been defined by the influence and imposition of religious values and narratives, how religion and faith is depicted and incorporated into screen narratives, and also how religious communities have played a major role in the production of films made throughout the Golden Ages of cinema. This area invites papers that examine the intersection between religion, cinema, and culture during the Golden Ages of cinema from a variety of global perspectives, areas of interest might include:

•	Genre Differences: How have different genres treated religion/faith differently? SF, fantasy, comedies, thrillers, romance, costume dramas, Westerns, etc.

•	Censorship: To what extent can religion/religious groups be used to frame and understand cinematic Golden Ages? How and why have religious groups historically tried to control or influence the content of films and their representation of issues including, but not limited to: politics, sexual content/sexuality, spirituality, science, families, politics, regionalism, crime, conflict, death, justice, etc.

•	Religious Influence: In what sense was the rise and fall of Hollywood’s “Golden Age” affected by religion and religious groups? How have religious groups responded to the increasingly secularization of the viewing public in post-classical cinema? To what extent have faith-communities used non-religious films in their own discourses? How has faith-based filmmaking challenged and responded to the changing role and output of mainstream cinema?

•	Non-Judeo-Christian Depictions: The existing scholarship surrounding film/religion has tended to focus upon Judeo-Christian religious discourses and this area hopes to explore other national and religious perspectives. How have mainstream films dealt with non-Judeo-Christian religions such as Islam or Hinduism? How did films from Hollywood’s “Golden Age” treat non-Judeo-Christian religions? In what ways have non-Anglo-American cinemas (World Cinema) respond to and incorporate religion?

•	Religious epics: Do recent religious films – e.g. Son of God (2014), Noah (2014), Exodus (2014) – constitute a new Golden Age of religious filmmaking? How do these filmmakers approach their subject matter and their potential audiences both religious and secular? 

Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (
Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by 1 June 2014, to the area chair:

Amy Chambers 
University of Manchester, UK
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Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite