CFP: [Film] NEMLA (9/1/08): Historical Conflation in Film and Television

full name / name of organization:,

North East Modern Languages Association (NEMLA) Conference
Boston, MA
February 26, 2009 â€" March 1, 2009

Film and television often use historical time periods to tell their
stories while incorporating unacknowledged 21st century attitudes or
ideas within those stories. Equally as often, they use the present day
for setting, but draw plots from the ideologies or social norms of
earlier time periods. This panel proposes to examine films or television
series / episodes that synthesize multiple time periods within them to
explore how modern popular culture complicates modern audiences’
perception of history, or perpetuates cultural stereotypes, or both. As
much of young America now “learns” of history through television and
film, rather than from scholarly sources, it is imperative to understand
how and why history is being conflated with the modern day in popular
culture. The films and television shows do not have to be current.
Papers that explore any examples combining multiple historical periods
without acknowledgement are welcome.

The television series Dexter follows a gothic moral avenger who doubles
as a serial killer, or a serial killer who doubles as a moral avenger.

The film Van Helsing is set in nineteenth century Transylvania, but
incorporates a very modern day technological guru who provides the hero
with advanced weaponry and gadgets to fight the monsters.

The recent BBC version of Jane Austen’s Persuasion had the main
character, Anne Elliot, chasing through the streets of Bath like she was
running with the bulls at Pamplona.

The film Married Life ostensibly took place just after World War II, but
focused on two women who behaved with very modern, feminist approaches to
the world around them.

The television series The Bachelor plays clearly on the long-standing
belief that all women have one goal: to marry. This is complicated only
by the idea that most women are also looking for their meal ticket and
will fight ruthlessly to win a man who offers both.

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words to:
Kathleen McDonald, Ph.D.
deadline: Monday, September 1, 2008.

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Received on Tue May 27 2008 - 11:15:28 EDT