Love, (Early) American Style: Love and Lust in Films About Early U.S. History

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

Call for Papers
"Love (Early) American Style: Love and Lust in Films about Early U.S. 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: Love (Early) American Style: Love and Lust in Films about Early U.S. History

History textbooks seldom share the steamier side of Early American History with their reading audiences. Film, on the other hand, has reveled in the love, lust, and loss of characters (both historical and fictional) in the time covering the settlement of the British colonies to the Civil War. Why does American film romanticize this period? Is The Last of the Mohicans, for example, about the French and Indian War, or is it about the nature and development of love across the lines of class, culture, and race? How does the mythic love affair between Pocahontas and Captain John Smith disturb or reinforce assumptions about the founding of the American colonies? When do the sex scandals of a Jefferson or a Franklin become important to film audiences? How are happy or unhappy marriages depicted in films about Early America? How do desire and longing drive historical characters to achieve their goals? What do documentaries capture—or miss—when portraying the role of love, lust, marriage, and loss in films or television?

Possible topics to consider for papers or panels:
• Myths about cross-cultural love perpetuated by film (Pocahontas, The New World)
• Forced separation for historic (or heroic) purposes (Last of the Mohicans, Drums Along the Mohawk, North and South)
• Tragic loss of love (The Blue and the Gray, The Patriot)
• True partnerships in love (John Adams, the Swamp Fox, George Washington)
• Scandals (Jefferson in Paris, Sally Hemmings, The President's Lady)
• Love, Lust, and Religion (The Crucible, the Scarlet Letter)
• The Unhappy marriage or "You were not my first choice" (George Washington, Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided)

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

Marianne Holdzkom, Area Chair
Department of Social and International Studies
Southern Polytechnic State University
1100 South Marietta Parkway
Marietta, GA 30060-2896 (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 (