All in the Family (3/1/10; 11/11-14/10)

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

Call for Papers
"All in the Family: The Bonds of Family Affection in Television"
2010 Film & History Conference: Representations of Love in Film and Television
November 11-14, 2010
Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
Second Round Deadline: March 1, 2009

AREA: All in the Family: The Bonds of Family Affection in Television

In his seminal work, Television: The Most Popular Art, Horace Newcombe argued that family was at the heart of all television; if that is true, then one can also argue that complicated matters of love and affection are also at television's core. Television dramas and sitcoms – even those based on highly contentious, oppositional families or workplaces – feature strong elements of love and affection among husband and wife, family members, friends and co-workers. Often idealized, these images of family have come to define many expectations of what a family should and should not be.

This area, comprising multiple panels, welcomes papers and panel proposals that examine the affective, affectionate family relationships in functional and dysfunctional portrayals of family and work life as portrayed in television sitcoms and dramas. Possibilities include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

• Loving Family Couples (the often problematic but ever-present affection exhibited by television couples such as Ward and June Cleaver, Ozzie and Harreit Nelson, Mike and Carol Brady, Bill and Claire Huxtable)
• Love in the Dysfunctional Home (affection within contentious families such as The Honeymooners, I Love Lucy, Make Room for Daddy, All in the Family, Rosanne, Married with Children).
• Substitute Families (ensemble programs in which the workplace stood as a family surrogate such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, Taxi, Cheers)
• Family Affection in Drama (affectionate relationships among colleagues and family members in dramatic shows from Bonanza to ER).
• To love or not to love (problematic love-hate relationships such as Sam and Diane from Cheers or Jerry and Elaine of Seinfeld).
• "Not that there's anything wrong with that" (issues of dating, relationships and sexuality raised exclusively in Seinfeld).

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

Michael B. Kassel, Area Chair
The University of Michigan-Flint
History Department
260 French Hall
Flint, Michigan 48502
Email: (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 (