The 21st-century Disaster Film: Now It Gets Real

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Rebecca Romanow/Northeast Modern Language Association
contact email: 

The 21st-Century Disaster Film: Now It Gets Real

In the 21st century, the disaster film has undergone a radical transformation; the changing nature and scope of what we understand as disaster has caused the formulaic genre conventions to dislodge, disrupt, and disappear. “Disaster” now addresses natural, climactic, human, economic, and war- and political-related disasters. This panel focuses on representations of the apocalypse, migration/immigration, extreme weather, terrorism, dystopia, hunger, poverty, genocide, and other 21st century disaster narratives. We will explore how we define and understand the term "disaster" in the 21st century, and how we are telling and historicizing the difficult stories of these human, natural, and global events through film and televised media.

As Gilbey points out “one of the timeless functions of cinematic storytelling is the way it allows us to explore in safety the fears that impinge occasionally on our daily lives. But that dynamic alters when reality itself is saturated into dread and anxiety.”  This panel will examine the seismic shifts in the conventions of the disaster film and explore the ways in which current filmmakers on all platforms attempt to address this genre.

Northeast Modern Language Association Conference, Boston, MA  March 5th-8th, 2020

Submissions are due: September 30, 2019 at

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words by September 30, 2019, using the NeMLA link: