Wreck and Ruin: The Car Chase on Film

deadline for submissions: 
May 1, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Brian Brems
contact email: 

Call For Papers – Wreck and Ruin: The Car Chase on Film (Edited Collection)


Contact Email: bremsb@cod.edu


Though a staple of the modern action genre, the car chase has attracted very little academic study. From its origins in the silent movie era to the breakneck chaos of the 1970s to its contemporary reliance on digital effects, the car chase is a quintessential cinematic sequence. Often the centerpiece of action films, car chases unify narrative, style, and spectacle to maximize the impact of the drama on spectators. And yet, despite their ubiquity, outstanding questions remain: What are the origins of the car chase, and how did it come to dominate the action genre? What stylistic changes have taken place over time in the way filmmakers execute these sequences on screen? What general trends in cinema history led to their saturation? How have filmmakers adapted to new technologies when designing, shooting, and editing car chases? What role do car chases play in defining visions of gender on screen? Are car chases pure spectacle, or can they be something more? The proposed volume intends to explore these questions and more, all with a defining goal: to explicate an important feature of cinema that has gone un-attended.


This call for papers seeks abstracts of 300-500 words on the subject of car chases for a proposed collection of essays. The volume will explore various meanings and ramifications of on-screen car chases, focusing on their place in narrative and impact on audiences. Abstracts are due on or before May 1st, 2021.


Possible areas of inquiry may include:

The car chase and silent cinema

The car chase and the tradition of the cinema of attractions

Roots/origins of the car chase

Car chases and stunt driving/stunt performances

The car chase and cinematic style (cinematography, editing, sound, etc.)

The car chase and music

Iconic car chases and their impact (Bullitt, The French Connection, Ronin, etc.)

Car chase demolition films (Gone in 60 Seconds, etc.)

Car chases and gender (masculinity/femininity)

Car chases and action films as genre

Car chases and screwball comedy (classic or postmodern)

Car chases and digital effects/CGI

Car chases and geographical space – rural/urban/suburban

Italian polizieschi and car chases

Asian cinema and car chases (Hong Kong action films, etc.)

Auteurism and car chases (Friedkin, Frankenheimer, Bay, others)

Car chases and spectatorship


Areas beyond those listed here may also be welcome.


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


Tentative timeline:

Completed drafts will be due Fall 2021

Revisions will be due early Spring 2022


Please attach a curriculum vitae to your abstract and email them directly to the anthology’s editor by May 1st, 2021:


Brian Brems

Associate Professor, English

College of DuPage