"Taking Care of Business": Office Romance in Film & Television

full name / name of organization: 
Cynthia Miller/Film & History
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Call for Papers
"Taking Care of Business": Office Romance in Film and Television
2010 Film & History Conference: Representations of Love in Film and Television
November 10-14, 2010
Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
Second Round Deadline: November 1, 2009

AREA: "Taking Care of Business": Office Romance in Film and Television

Mixing work and romance is typically viewed as risky business, fraught with secrecy, compromise, conflicting interests, and intimidation. It has also provided some of cinema and television's most satisfying – and socially informative – narratives. Thus, these stories of romance, with all its passion, intimacy, and "irrationality," in a milieu defined by its regimentation, impersonality, and rationality, offer a rich vantage point from which to examine the hearts, minds, and social norms of the societies in which they're created and avidly viewed.

Like a seismograph, the changing portrayals of Office Romance – from the 1930s and beyond – document changes in private expectations, social attitudes, and cultural values. This area invites papers that explore and chart the various ways in which filmmakers of all nationalities and genres have treated Love in the Office, from popular American films of the 1930s and '40s, like Behind Office Doors (1931), The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947), and Adam's Rib (1949), to international fare like the Russian comedy, Office Romance (1977), to more contemporary releases, such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) and The Proposal (2009). Particularly welcome are papers which explore these films with an eye toward:

• The changing messages of cinematic and televisual morality tales involving workplace romance ("Raising the Bar," Two Weeks Notice, 2003)

• How films explore and illustrate our changing notions of sexual harassment (Disclosure, 1994; The 40-Year-Old Virgin, 2005)

• The complex interplay between sexual passion, power, and success (A Time to Kill, 1996; Tea for Two, 1950; The Secretary, 2002)

• The blurred boundaries of "public" and "private" in office love on screen (What Women Want, 2000; The Closet, 2001)

• Gender roles at work and play (Broadcast News, 1987; His Girl Friday, 1940; Working Girl, 1988)

• Fan fiction and the re-imagining of workplace romance ("CSI," "NCIS," "Bones")

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

Tony Osborne, Area Chair
Gonzaga University
University Hall Box 23
Spokane, WA 99258-0022
Email: Osborne@gonzaga.edu (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).