CfP: “Journeys, Detours, Breakdowns” The 2015 Film & History Conference

The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club
Madison, WI (USA)
November 5-8, 2015

Call For Area Chairs
Deadline 15 February 2015

Journeys can be deceptive. Full of purpose, they are nonetheless plastic and boundless: from the social journeys of women in Britain or children in India and the political journeys of native populations in Australia or the Americas, to the physical journeys of ships through space and time or of comic-book heroes through urban landscapes; from the psychological journeys of warriors in Kenya and painters in New York, to the economic journeys into Wall Street or the middle class or the empty street. To what extent might the journey on a film also be the journey of that film, of the actors, writers, and directors striving to give shape to experiences outside their own?

On the other hand, what kinds of journeys matter to which kinds of audiences? Ten different films might be made about the journey of coal miners in West Virginia or of engineers in South Korea. Why does one “journey” prevail or another? What has one specific cinematic experience done to their stories, to their histories? What teleological shape has Hollywood given to “crime” in Los Angeles or to “medicine” in urban centers, to the expansionist ideology of nuclear powers or to the racial ideology of homogenous populations? What goals or purposes have certain films or networks of films created? For whom? And which detours or breakdowns on the road to those purposes have decisively altered them?

Film & History seeks proposals for areas that explore the interlocking concepts of “Journeys, Detours, Breakdowns” across a wide variety of production systems [Hollywood, independent film, network and cable television], genres [animation, science fiction, noir, comedy, reality television], geographies [narratives of immigration, national and transnational movement of films], ideas and innovations [sight, sound, special effects], individuals [producers, filmmakers, stars, production personnel], and venues [movie palaces, drive-in theaters].

Our annual conference will be held at The Madison Concourse Hotel (in the heart of downtown Madison, WI, next to the historic Capitol), November 5-8, 2015. Attendees will receive specially-discounted room rates for this premier hotel. Air travel may be arranged conveniently through the regional airport in Madison or the international airport in Milwaukee.

Deadline for Proposals from Area Chairs (organizers of multiple panels): February 15, 2015. Send your proposal (~200 words) to by the deadline above for full consideration.

Area Chairs are encouraged, in consultation with the AC Manager, to craft their own areas, but listed below are some opening suggestions:

  • Careers: Skyrockets and Fizzles
  • Transnational Journeys: Images of Migration
  • The Quest: Heroes (and Villains) on a Mission
  • Film and Television Across Borders
  • Production and Distribution
  • Race and Ethnicity: The Long Road to Representation
  • Sound: Breaking Barriers
  • Special Effects: Journeys of the Imagination
  • Journeys of Difference
  • Getting There: Road Movies
  • Being There: Place-based Films
  • Women in the Industry: The Journey to the Top
  • Queer Film: Many Paths to Portrayals
  • Destination: War
  • Journeys West
  • Antiquity: Roads of Conquest and Exploration
  • Epic Journeys
  • The Bumpy Road of Adaptation
  • Breakdowns on Screen – Depictions of Mental Illness

Past Film & History Conferences

The Film & History conference began in 2000 under the leadership of editor-in-chief Peter Rollins. Held biennially from 2000-2012 and annually beginning in 2013, it has grown into an international event for scholars working in a wide range of disciplines.