SCMS 2015 (Mar. 25-28): CFP - "Gender and Genre Through a Post-9/11 Lens"

full name / name of organization: 
Terrance McDonald (Brock University) & Justin Shaw (Wilfrid Laurier University) / SCMS

CFP for Panel: Society for Cinema & Media Studies Conference March 25-28, 2015 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

"Gender and Genre Through a Post-9/11 Lens"

While the influence of the iconography and ideology of genre films on popular notions of gender is well documented, post-9/11 Hollywood marks the appearance of films that are steeped in classical traditions as much as they revise conventions in order to offer solutions to contemporary issues. This panel seeks to produce new understandings of gender and genre in Hollywood as shaped by the regressive gender politics of post-9/11 American culture. By interrogating images of femininity and masculinity projected by popular American cinema since 9/11, we aim to question Hollywood's response to contemporary gender ideals and performances.

Hollywood was quick to produce direct responses to 9/11, but this panel is not restricted to immediate cinematic representations of 9/11 specific to the military and civilian responses that followed. While such readings are valuable to the historical contextualization of the impact of 9/11 on American popular culture, the longstanding influence of this event, through oppressive domestic and foreign policies such as the USA Patriot Act and the War on Terror, has affected contemporary representations of gender in more subtle ways across Hollywood genres, such as science fiction, horror, romantic comedy, action cinema, the western, etc. Therefore, this panel will bring together questions raised by gender and genre scholarship from previous decades to address the emergence of revisions and rewritings of genres that convey popular fantasies and fictitious solutions to the fears, anxieties, and needs of post- 9/11 American society. While Hollywood genres are renowned for their mythic depictions of historical and cultural phenomenon, the turn-of-the-millennium witnessed a cultural nostalgia for traditional domestic gender binaries; however, following 9/11 this nostalgia has shifted to an increasingly problematic resurgence of hypermasculinity in America that affects the nation's domestic and foreign relations. Given the role of popular genres in shaping cultural ideals, it is important to examine critically the effects of such a resurgence on filmic representations of gender in popular conceptions of femininity and masculinity, and all the social constructions of gender in between. What are the implications of the construction of the hypermasculine, "defensive" American "self" against "others" differing in gender, race, ethnicity and/or class, both at home and abroad? Do contemporary Hollywood genre films perpetuate or subvert such binaries? Or perhaps they do something in between?

For this panel, we invite papers that analyze the influence of representations of gender in post-9/11 Hollywood genre films on contemporary subjectivities. This panel welcomes examinations of gender and genre in the context of 9/11 that could include: nationhood, myth, surveillance, heroism, hegemonic masculinity, essentialism, American exceptionalism, violence, commodification, capitalism, globalization, manifest destiny, neoliberalism, neoconservatism, politics, media, masquerade, postcolonialism, etc.

Please send paper proposals of no more than 300 words and a short bio of no more than 100 words (including your institutional/departmental affiliations and current email) to Terrance McDonald ( and Justin Shaw ( by August 15th, 2014. Submitters will be notified about the status of their proposal by August 22nd (the deadline for proposals to SCMS is August 29th).