SCMS Conference Proposal: The New Woman in 20th Century Crime Films (Deadline August 13th, 2009)
Crime films and films of detection that emerged in the US and abroad around the turn of the 20th century provide an exceptionally salient commentary on modernity and urban culture, and the New Woman figures prominently in this commentary because she is a product of this new culture as well as a figure of progress and uncertainty. Early cinematic representations of the New Woman indicate a fascination with this cultural model while using it as a form of entertainment to encourage social limitations on her social and political freedoms on and off screen. They also illustrate divergent cultural attitudes toward the New Woman. For instance, several early American crime films feature the New Woman as a detective figure whose experience in urban modern society allows her to participate to varying degrees in the investigation of a crime through her intelligence, athleticism and/or use of technology while early French crime films often depict the New Woman as a fascinating criminal who uses these cultivated qualities to disrupt social order.
Certainly, these representations and their cultural contexts have evolved and influenced subsequent interpretations in the years following the 1910s and in the face of shifting cultural and social values. This panel aims to further assess the intricate possibilities, commentaries and significances on the role of the New Woman in crime films and films of detection in the 20th century. Topics may include but are not limited to case studies, aesthetic analyses and economic histories. The scope of papers may also extend beyond the early period up to the 1970s, and perspectives of American and international films are encouraged.
Please send a 250-300 word abstract along with a bibliography and a brief bio as a Word attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than August 13th.