Collection of Essays: "The Americanization and Historical Conflation of Time and Culture in Film and Television."

full name / name of organization: 
Kathleen McDonald, Ph.D.
contact email: 

Call for Papers or Abstracts for inclusion in an edited collection.

From Revolutionary France to Ancient Greece, film and television often claim the use of historical time periods and/or "exotic" settings to tell their stories while incorporating unacknowledged present-day American 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 volume proposes to examine films or television series/episodes that synthesize multiple time periods within them, in order to explore how modern popular media complicates American audiences' perception of history and recasts historical cultural norms within contemporary nationalist boundaries. 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 and recast under the rubric of American 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 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 completed papers of 4,000 – 5,000 words, exclusive of notes, or abstracts of no more than 600 words to:

Kathleen McDonald, Ph.D.
deadline: Saturday, July 18, 2009.