CFP: Homelessness and the Media (8/1/17; 11/1-5/17)

deadline for submissions: 
August 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Film & History


CFP: Homelessness and the Media
An area of multiple panels for the 2017 Film & History Conference:
Representing “Home”: The Real and Imagined Spaces of Belonging
November 1-November 5, 2017
The Hilton Milwaukee City Center
Milwaukee, WI (USA)

EXTENDED DEADLINE for abstracts: August 1, 2017

Those who experience homelessness often remain invisible in everyday life, but they do appear on screen in films from Charlie Chaplin’s The Little Tramp (1914) to The Soloist (2009). These representations often cast homeless people within a narrow range of themes centering on benevolence, violence, mental illness, chemical dependency, gender identity, sexual deviance, and overall worthiness. Documentary representations such as Streetwise (1984) and Children Underground (2001) push these representations by both zooming in on everyday experiences and zooming out to political policies and their implications. The sense of identity for those who experience homelessness, and potentially their sense of belonging, connects paradoxically to a perceived lack of place, or home.


How do media representations connect those who experience homelessness to particular places? How do they show access to places or how people create their own places? How do media representations separate those who experience homelessness from particular places? What obstacles appear to create this distance? What does it mean that media representations trend toward the extremes in showing homeless situations? How do these representations render or elide the financial, legal, or other sociocultural issues that contribute to place and homelessness? How do these representations demonstrate the identity intersectionalities of place and homelessness, such as age, sexuality, or gender?

This area invites 20-minute presentations about the intersections of place or home, homelessness, and the media. These media include film, television, and social and multi-platform media. Genres include fiction, nonfiction, and emerging forms. Topics include, but are not limited, to the following:

* Constructions of physical places and homes by those who experience homeless
* Constructions of physical places and homes for those who experience homeless
* Representations of the lack of places and homes
* Stereotyping, intersectionalities, and place or lack of place
* New media technologies, identity construction, and place
* Global representations of homelessness, identity, and place
* Multi-platform awareness campaigns and projects
* Impacts of media representations and stereotypes

Inquiries about topics are welcome. 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 (

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

Heather McIntosh
Minnesota State University, Mankato