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Sons of the Sheik: Global Perspectives on the Alpha Male in Love
full name / name of organization:
Cynthia J. Miller/Film & History
Call for Papers
“Sons of The Sheik: Global Perspectives on the Alpha Male in Love ”
AREA: Sons of The Sheik: International Perspectives on the Alpha Male in Love
Masterful, confident, erotically charged, the “Alpha Male” has been a cinematic icon from Rudolph Valentino’s Sheik Ahmed ben Hassan (The Sheik, 1921) to Pierce Brosnan’s Thomas Crown (1999) and Hritik Roshan’s elusive criminal, “Mr. A” (Dhoom 2, 2006). As the hero in romantic films, this ideal of masculinity has proven enduringly popular with both male and female viewers, even as successive waves of feminism, in the West and around the globe, have challenged the sexual politics he implies.
How do representations of the Alpha Male in love differ across national, linguistic, and cultural boundaries? How have they changed across the past century, responding to historically- and regionally-specific shifts in gender roles and ideals? What happens to the Alpha Male hero when he stars in a romantic comedy, as opposed to a drama or melodrama? How much can we use this iconic figure to track the power of the female gaze or women’s desires, as has been done with the Alpha Male hero of popular romance fiction, given the fact that men continue to predominate in the writing and direction of the films (as opposed to the overwhelmingly female authorship and audience for romance novels)?
This area, comprising multiple panels, welcomes papers and panel proposals that examine all forms and genres of films featuring “Alpha” protagonists in love, as well as films which challenge, revise, or subvert the conventions surrounding this character. Possibilities include, but are not limited to, the following topics:
• Sheiks, Captains, Emperors, (The Sheik, Persuasion, Jodhaa Akbar)
• Alpha Male meets Alpha Female (The Thomas Crown Affair
• Austen’s Alpha: Darcy and his Descendents (Pride and Prejudice)
• Sink Me! He’s an Alpha in Disguse! (The Scarlet Pimpernel, Zorro)
• Alpha / Beta Reversals and Alter-Egos (Rab Ne Bana di Jodi, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na)
• Suspicious Minds: the Alpha Criminal and Detective (Devil in a Blue Dress, The Big Sleep, Breathless)
• Athlete Alphas (Love & Basketball, Bull Durham)
• Alpha Lovers in Space (Han Solo, James T. Kirk)
• You’ve Got Male: Alphas in “Chick Flicks”
Please send your 200-word proposal by e-mail to the area chair:
Eric Murphy Selinger
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).