CFP: Hollywood and the Culture Wars Study Day (UK) (11/3/06; 3/1/07)

full name / name of organization: 
James Russell
contact email: 

Hollywood and the Culture Wars: A Study Day
1 March 2007, De Montfort University, UK.
Call For Papers.

Under the leadership of George W. Bush, public opinion in America seems more
polarised than it has been in decades. Divisions between liberals and
conservatives, secular humanists and religious fundamentalists, red states
and blue states, have widened to the point where many Americans now seem to
hold fundamentally opposed views of the nation's purpose and identity. This
cultural division is by no means new, but it has become a far more visible
feature of American life since the inauguration of Bush Jnr, and the
terrorist attacks of 9/11. In particular, the political, spiritual and
social disputes which make up these so-called 'Culture Wars' have been
focused on the media. For those on the right, Hollywood productions
invariably exhibit an offensive, even damaging, liberal bias (despite
frequent critical claims that Hollywood is innately conservative).
Alternatively, liberals have voiced concern about the rise of highly
partisan conservative alternatives to the Hollywood mainstream. Again, these
debates about the influence and moral purpose of the media have deep roots,
but they have become burning issues for many Americans in the last six

'Hollywood and the Culture Wars' looks specifically at the relationship
between the political and spiritual polarisation of popular opinion in
American, and the media itself. For secular European scholars the increased
power and visibility of the Christian right in America can provoke
bafflement and dismay. However, this event seeks to move beyond simplistic
assumptions about American exceptionalism, and will take shifts in American
attitudes seriously. We believe that the international research community
can offer a valuable perspective on questions of American identity.
Therefore, we invite papers from both established scholars and research
students on any aspect of American attitudes and the media, but topics that
we are particularly interested in include:

- The representation of politics and religion in mainstream Hollywood
- The emergence of movies and television shows aimed specifically at
Christian audiences.
- The influence of lobbying groups on the media.
- Liberal and conservative political activism in Hollywood.
- The rise of right leaning media institutions, such as Fox News and Walden
- Popular and institutional responses to controversial texts (such as The
Passion of the Christ, or Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas).
- The ways that disputes over gender, sexuality and identity more generally
are incorporated into media texts.
- Uses of the media by audience groups.
- The question of bias in the media.
- European or other international responses to the Culture Wars.
- Cultural division and Hollywood history.

Keynote speaker TBC.

If you wish to take part in the study day, please submit a 300 word abstract
of your paper by email attachment to The deadline for
submissions is 3 November 2006. We will also accept papers via mail, which
should be sent to the address below.

Dr James Russell
Faculty of Humanities
De Montfort University
The Gateway
Leicester LE1 9BH

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Received on Sun Jul 09 2006 - 10:00:36 EDT