CFP: American Popular Imagination of the First World War (UK) (9/8/05; 3/31/06-4/2/06)

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>From Snoopy to Star Wars
American Popular Imagination of the First World War

Panel proposal for
The First World War and Popular Culture Conference
31 March - 2 April 2006(3/31/6-4/2/6)
University of Newcastle (UK)

America's geographic distance from the Western Front along with their late entry
into the Great War made the way American writers and artists responded to the
war different from their English and European counterparts. While he used front
footage for his Allied-commissioned 1918 Hearts of the World, WD Griffith shot
most of the movie in California. Similarly, while avoiding front line combat,
the English clown Charlie Chaplin made his tramp imagine himself a hero on the
western front in Shoulder Arms (1918). While during the war the Committee on
Public Information (America's propaganda ministry) demonised all things German
(frankfurters and sauerkraut turned into hotdogs and liberty cabbage) they
transformed not only the enemy but also the imaginary space of the war itself.

Howard Hughes' recreation of World War One aerial combat in Hell's Angels (1930)
was a major influence on George Lucas' dogfights in Star Wars (1977). Further,
Star Wars has in turn been a major influence not only on war and science fiction
movies but on video games involving air or space fighting (as trench warfare
makes poor game play, this may be one of the most enduring legacies of WWI in
the American imagination). The imaginary space of the war is typified by
George Schultz's character Snoopy climbing up onto his dog house to imagine
himself as the World War One Flying Ace in mortal combat with the Red Baron.
He typifies the enduring American imaginary (and aerial) relationship to the

This panel will accept all papers dealing with popular American imaginings of
the First World War, either during or after the war itself. Papers on popular
American conceptions of the war including propaganda, film, comic books, video
games, food, pin-ups, magazines, novels, children's books etc. are all welcome.

All 300 word proposals should be emailed to Anurag Jain at
by September 8th, 2005 (9/8/5)

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Received on Thu Jun 23 2005 - 16:35:04 EDT