Film & History 2016, Milwaukee, WI - "Food of the Gods" Area

deadline for submissions: 
July 15, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Tom Hertweck / University of Nevada, Reno
contact email: 

Film & History Conference - 26-30 October 2016, Milwaukee Hilton, Milwaukee, WI

The time is ripe for us to turn our attention to food in a robust and nuanced way. More than simply looking toward loving depictions of food as a devoted handicraft or object of human labor, modern food production—which spans the same historical epoch as film production—must include a look at the ways that humans have begun to obsess or worry over food’s presence in our daily lives.  Comprising the mass of worldy goods that nourish our bodies, contemporary foods are akin to the Greek pharmakon, a cure or poison in a single bite.  Cheap industrial foods, for example, can feed poor nations in times of famine, but in overabundance lead to obesity and lower quality of life, or if contaminated, kill untold numbers.  Like the angry gods of days of yore, food (and not to mention the people who make and control it) holds the power of life and death.

This area is expansive and is open to any innovative approach to food and beverage, eating or drinking.  Additionally, proposals looking at filmed media other than feature-length motion pictures (television, web-based sources, etc.) are welcome and encouraged. More than just depictions of ambrosia, this area seeks presentations that explore the ways film helps us of think about what we ingest into the temples that are our bodies.  Topics could include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:

  • film histories of food ideas (vegetarianism, production, agriculture, etc.)
  • food as god—film, food, and the commodity fetish
  • food as sanctuary—depictions of eating in dangerous times
  • food and class difference
  • food and nutrition information (the “gospel of food”)
  • magical foods
  • film (as) advertising/product placement
  • visual elements and “feasts for the eyes”
  • conceptual work (e.g. film and the non-filmable senses such as taste and smell)
  • documentary traditions relating to food
  • food aversion, horror/the grotesque, and profane
  • heretical eating—food and subversion
  • hunger and depictions of want
  • readings of specific films and food power in historical and/or cultural context

Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website ( Scholars looking for early acceptance in order to help better secure travel funding are encouraged to submit proposals early and to mention this in their submission e-mails.

Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by 15 July 2016 to the area chair:

Tom Hertweck
University of Nevada, Reno