Love and the Family Man (3/1/10; 11/11-14/10)

full name / name of organization: 
Cynthia J. Miller/Film & History
contact email: 

Call for Papers
"Love and the Family Man"
2010 Film & History Conference: Representations of Love in Film and Television
November 11-14, 2010
Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
Deadline: March 1, 2010

AREA: Love and the Family Man: Last Frontier for the American Hero?

Though positioned as the head of the family, male protagonists in American popular culture have frequently had an ambivalent relationship to the home and their families. As Marshall McLuhan noted: "The horse opera and soap opera, then, embody two of the most important American traditions, the frontier and the hometown. But the two traditions are split rather than fused. They show radical separation between business and society, between action and feeling, office and home, between men and women, which is so characteristic of industrial man." McLuhan points to the ambivalent relationship of the classic American Hero and Love – and by extension with family connections. Even men who do choose families over "lighting out for the territories" struggle, as often as not, to feel comfortable within the domestic sphere, to feel truly at home with those they love.

This area, comprising multiple panels, welcomes papers and panel proposals that examine all forms and genres of films featuring male protagonists who work to find their place within the home and family—which may require defining "family" and gendered roles. Possibilities include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

• Single Dads ("Bonanza"; "Andy Griffith Show"; Signs)
• Clueless: (Mr. Blandings Dream House; The Man Who Knew Too Much; "Bewitched")
• Desperate Husbands (Ransom, John Q)
• Wannabe Family Men (Shane, The Searchers, Jerry Maguire)
• Heroic Fathers (Spy Kids, Unbreakable , Frequency)
• Homelife vs. Worklife ("The Sopranos"; True Lies)
• Ex-Family Men ("The Mentalist," Million Dollar Baby)

Please send your 200-word proposal by e-mail to the area chair:

Elizabeth Abele, Area Chair
SUNY Nassau Community College

Panel proposals for up to four presenters are also welcome, but each presenter must submit his or her own paper proposal. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (