CFP: [Film] Reading MAD MEN: A Critical Anthology

full name / name of organization: 
Scott F Stoddart

Reading MAD MEN: A Critical Anthology

MAD MEN is a phrase synonymous with the stylized glamour and ruthless
competition of 1960s Madison Avenue: male executives with skinny ties and
large fedoras and bigger egos, female assistants in boldly colored, form-
fitting skirts, and the ubiquitous three-martini lunch. The show MAD MEN
has become a cultural phenomenon, detailing America’s preoccupation with
commercialism and image in the Camelot of 1960s Kennedy-era America,
while self-consciously exploring our own culture’s obsession with image
and self-invention.

I am seeking critical essays (20 â€" 30 pages in length) that read MadMen
as a cultural barometer -- essays that challenge the reader to explore
how a television show about the 1960s speaks to our own anxieties about
consumerism, capitalism and sexism.

Essays that touch on any of the following topics would be of interest:
• New Historicist parallels between the Age of Camelot and our own
in respect to advertising, commerce and capitalism;
• Psychoanalytic approaches to show, particularly in respect to Don
Draper (Jon Hamm) and his wife, Betty (January Jones);
• MAD MEN’s approach to “selling oneself” and selling commodities;
• Sterling Cooper as a microcosm of cultural mores â€" then and now;
• The Age of Camelot as an “Age of Anxiety”;
• Peggy Olson (Elizabeth Moss)’s efforts to assert her individual
approach to advertising while experiencing Sterling Cooper’s sexist
• The series’ approach to the profession of advertising and its use
of emotionalism to sell products;
• MAD MEN’s effect on current trends in fashion retailing,
furniture merchandising and advertisement;
• Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser)’s relationship to class and
social mobility, particularly in his relationship to office hierarchy and
his personal life;
• The series’ use of “the edge”: how heterosexism, homosexuality,
and gender politics influence portrayals of characters’ sexuality â€"
particularly in the office (such as Sal Romano [Bryan Batt]) and in its
use of Greenwich Village (Don’s relationship with Midge Daniels
[Rosemarie Dewitt];
• Don Draper as a modern-day embodiment of Huckleberry Finn or Jay
• The use of nostalgia in selling the show to a contemporary

Abstracts for proposed essays should be received via email by 15 January
2009; finished essay would be due by 30 May 2009 (MLA format). Send
questions and proposals to Scott F. Stoddart, Dean of Liberal Arts at the
Fashion Institute of Technology:

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Received on Mon Nov 03 2008 - 10:02:35 EST