Jane Austen in Film and History

full name / name of organization: 
Cynthia Miller/Film & History
contact email: 

Call for Papers
"Jane Austen in Film and History"
2010 Film & History Conference: Representations of Love in Film and Television
November 11-14, 2010
Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
Second Round Deadline: November 1, 2009

AREA: Jane Austen in Film and History

When filmmakers adapt Jane Austen to the screen, what happens to the text's finely articulated human relationships, to the audience's sense of love? How does production design or economics or star power re-shape Austen's melodramas and romances? How do Austen adaptations re-shape popular culture or period history? This area, comprising multiple panels, welcomes proposals that address the following issues:

a) Film, Television, and Jane Austen: how and why Hollywood (as well as other companies in the United States and Great Britain) turns to Austen at particular moments in history. Why did she become popular in the 1990s? And why has she been a subject for Masterpiece Theatre adaptations since the late 1960s?
b) Remaking Stardom: how Austen's texts both reinforce and recreate Hollywood star images. Examples include Laurence Olivier (Pride and Prejudice, 1940), Gwyneth Paltrow (Emma, 1997), and Anne Hathaway (Becoming Jane, 2005).
c) Production Companies and Jane Austen: how particular production companies adapt Jane Austen to suit their specific house styles. Examples include the 1940 Pride and Prejudice adapted to the star-laden and expensively designed MGM house style of the late 1930s and early 1940s, or the Austen texts adapted to the Masterpiece Theatre style of studio-bound production in the 1970s and mid-1980s.
d) Reinventing History: the significance of historically authentic design and costumes in the 'look' of an adaptation; the importance of 'heritage' and use of historically accurate locations; the importance of landscape (for marketing as well as thematic purposes); images of Britain and 'Britishness'; changing approaches to gender construction since the early 1940s.
e) Genre and Jane Austen: how her work has been adapted to suit particularly (constructed) conventions of genre discourse – the romance, the period drama, or the classic serial. The intention here would be to focus less on novel/film comparison, but rather on the screenplay (published copies of which are available for several Austen adaptations).
f) Rewriting Austen: how and why Austen's life has formed the subject for films like Becoming Jane and radio plays
g) Marketing Austen: the role of publicity in marketing Austen adaptations; how pressbooks and other materials (interviews, articles as well as online material) remake history and sell it to international audiences (especially Americans); the significance of secondary materials (interviews, film websites)
h) Reception: how audiences and reviewers respond to Austen adaptations; how newspapers shape audience responses; changing cultural conditions and how they shape reviewers' reactions; institutional forces and their effect on reviews (popular or quality newspapers, film magazines, fanzines).
i) Afterlife: Fan communities; Austen fan sites online; rewriting Austen on fansites; blogs and other forms of communication; the Jane Austen Society; DVDs – the significance of extended editions, "Director's Cuts" and extras as a way of remaking Austen as well as improving marketing.; repackaging old films for contemporary audiences.

Please send your 200-word proposal by e-mail to the area chair:

Laurence J. Raw, Area Chair
Baskent University
Ankara, Turkey
Email: l_rawjalaurence@yahoo.com (email submissions preferred)

Panel proposals for up to four presenters are also welcome, but each presenter must submit his or her own paper proposal. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (www.uwosh.edu/filmandhistory).