"Food and Film" at bienniel Film and History Conference, 26-30 Sept. 2012, Milwaukee, WI

full name / name of organization: 
Tom Hertweck, University of Nevada, Reno
contact email: 

Food of the Gods: The Mythic Poetics of Food, Drink, and Eating in Film and Television
An area of multiple panels for the biennial Film and History Conference on "Film and Myth"
26-30 September 2012
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
First Round Deadline: 1 June 2012

This area of panels seeks papers that address the rich and textured presence—in other words, the special mythic import—of food and eating in film and television along two related trajectories. In one trajectory, papers will look at how myths on film use food in order to depict the epic subject matter that runs the film's narrative. How do these plots use foods and scenes of eating to energize or organize a myth's plot? Are there special filmic techniques to show how food and eating work in a mythic tale? Second, films and television shows that center around food suggest the ways in which the foods themselves contain special mythic importance, as they enliven, circumscribe, or confound characters' lives. In both, foods take up important and powerful places as filmmakers interrogate various notions of ethics, political economy, cultural value, and identity. How do foods locate characters within networks of meaning? How does food help or hinder a character's development? How does, in a deeply mythic sense, food matter?

Papers are welcomed on film and television from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and national film traditions. Suggested topics and ideas for presentations would include the following and more:

• Representation and import of the Hero's Feast (Thor, Conan, Beowulf, Xena, Sparatcus)
• Interrogations of reverence for food (Big Night, No Reservations/Mostly Martha)
• Ritualizations of food (Babette's Feast, Secret of the Grain, Last Holiday)
• Food and complexity in rites of passage (American Pie, Scent of Green Papaya)
• Spectacle, modernity, and food menace (Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Modern Times)
• Food or eating as cure, poison, or pharmakon (The Road to Wellville, Super Size Me)
• The powerful organizing force of food and consumerism (Mad Men, Extract)
• Food and eating as social space (My Dinner with Andre, Sideways)
• Questions of family and food (Eat Drink Man Woman, Soul Food)
• Eating foods of unspeakable origin (Soylent Green, Silence of the Lambs)

Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including e-mail addresses, for each presenter. Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by 1 June 2012 to the "Food and Film" area chair, Tom Hertweck, at thertweck@unr.edu. Attachments or simply copied-and-pasted into an e-mail OK.