Families on Screen in the Americas Since 1970

deadline for submissions: 
October 22, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Congrès de l'Institut des Amériques - Panel 10
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International Conference: Congrès de l'Institut des Amériques (9-11 October 2019, Paris)

Panel 10: Families on Screen in the Americas Since 1970

The 1960s are known as a period of profound economic, social and political turmoil. In Western societies, revolutionary uproars directly impacted the bourgeois ideal of the nuclear family inherited from the 19th century. In this family structure, the head of household is an all-powerful father wielding his authority over wife and children. The male breadwinner–female homemaker family model popularized after World War II started to erode from the 1960s onwards to finally splinter in the 1970s. With its fast-growing viewership at the time, television has contributed to this evolution somewhat paradoxically. On the one hand, televisual productions could reproduce the established order. But on the other hand, they could incorporate sociocultural changes that became consensual.

TV shows constitute invaluable sources to study these transformations as family issues have long held a key position in television productions across the Americas. Since the 1950s, many TV shows from the northern part of the continent have revolved entirely around families like Bewitched (1964-1972). In South America, the telenovela genre has focused on romantic relationships but usually within a family setting. It was the case of El derecho de nacer (1965-67), a Venezuelan telenovela based on the scenario of a Cuban radionovela which attracted a great number of viewers in South America during the 1960s. Yet, the 1970s saw new productions that called into question the image of the traditional family. In the USA, stories started to feature single women (The Mary Tyler Moore Show 1970-1977), working-class families (All in the Family 1971-1979), blended families (The Brady Bunch 1969-1974), single mothers (The Partridge Family 1970-1974), non-white families (Sanford and Son 1972-1977), adopted children (Diff'rent Strokes 1978-1985), characters dealing with disabilities (Life Goes On 1989-1993) and same-sex parents (It’s All Relative 2003-2004). In South America, there was also a rupture in the representation of the bourgeois nuclear family. Class conflicts and criticism towards the bourgeoisie were depicted in telenovelas like Natacha (1970) or the well-known Los ricos también lloran (1979-1980). Brazilian productions presented the most innovative stories between 1970 and 2000. A sucessora (1978-1979), Vale tudo (1988-1989) or Tieta (1989-1990) still come to mind. However, racism has remained taboo in South America, including in Brazil where more than half of the population is of African descent.

This session seeks to explore how television productions have portrayed family relationships across the Americas since the 1970s. We welcome contributions emphasizing how TV shows participate in contemporary debates about the family. We invite proposals in Spanish, Portuguese, English and French that apply cross-disciplinary, cross-national and comparative methods. We are interested in papers that explicitly address normative constructions of sex/gender. We particularly welcome proposals exploring the following topics:

  • · Women’s roles
  • · Parenthood
  • · Intergenerational relationships

Interested contributors should submit abstracts of 650 words maximum by October 15th, 2018.

Please use the following template to prepare your abstract: https://tinyurl.com/yc4pxnhq

Files must be submitted in a PDF format at this page:https://congresida2019.sciencesconf.org/user/submit

We look forward to reading your submissions!