UPDATED: ReFocus: The Films of David Mamet

deadline for submissions: 
December 31, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
University of Edinburgh Press
contact email: 

Call For Papers – ReFocus: The Films of David Mamet

Playwright, screenwriter, film director, drama theorist, acting teacher, and iconoclast David Mamet has spent a life in the theatre and behind the camera, developing a signature style of dialogue that is by turns musical in its rhythms and profane in its content. After spending the 1970s working in Chicago’s burgeoning theatre scene, scoring a smash with his play American Buffalo, which has since become a standard of American drama, Mamet moved into screenwriting, beginning his film career working for directors Bob Rafelson and Sidney Lumet and eventually writing the screenplay for Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables (1987). That same year, he made his directorial debut with the confidence game story House of Games (1987), which established a visual style that was lean and sparse, inspired by his Chicago-infused workmanlike approach to the theatre. Since his directorial debut, Mamet has continued to work as a screenwriter and a director in cinema, including on adaptations of his most famous plays, such as Glengarry Glen Ross (1992, Dir. James Foley) and Oleanna (1994, Dir. David Mamet), establishing a body of work unified by common themes—confidence, Jewish identity, and the use of language as violence by another means. While Mamet’s film work is respected, he remains more well-known for his theatrical contributions; this volume aims to devote considerable attention to his little-studied, but compelling, fascinating films.

We are seeking abstracts of 250-500 words for essays to be included in a book-length anthology on David Mamet to appear in early 2022. The intended scope of the work is to analyze Mamet’s unique position as an artist of note in both the theatre and the cinema, as well as his very specific ideas about dramatic structure, performance style, and economical visual storytelling. It will argue for Mamet’s film work as an essential, but underappreciated dimension of his artistic career.

Possible areas of inquiry could include: Mamet’s films as writer/director; Mamet as script doctor; Mamet as screenwriter for other directors; Mamet and dramatic theory; Mamet and gender; Mamet and adaptation; Mamet and adaptation of theatrical productions; Mamet and Jewish identity; Mamet and confidence games; Mamet and Chicago; Mamet and performance; Mamet and visual style; Mamet and dialogue; Mamet and profanity; Mamet and politics; Mamet and class; Mamet and frequent collaborators; Mamet and authorship. Areas outside of those listed here are also welcome.

Essays included in the refereed anthology will be of approximately 5,000 to 8,000 words, referenced in Chicago endnote style.

UPDATE: The volume will contain an interview with the filmmaker David Mamet, conducted in late September 2020.

Tentative Timeline:

Completed Drafts will be due Early Summer 2021

Revisions will be due Fall 2021

The Films of David Mamet will be one of the scholarly editions to be published by the University of Edinburgh Press in a new series of anthologies examining overlooked American film directors. Series editors are Robert Singer, Ph.D., Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D., and Frances Smith, Ph.D. Volume editors previously published ReFocus: The Films of Paul Schrader (2020).

Please attach a curriculum vitae to your abstract and email them directly to the anthology’s editors by December 31st, 2020:

Brian Brems

Associate Professor, English

College of DuPage


Michelle E. Moore, PhD

Professor, English

College of DuPage