COMPARISONS IN NON-FICTION SCIENCE FILMS AND TELEVISION “Film & Science: Fictions, Documentaries, and Beyond”

First-Round Deadline: November 1, 2007

Area: Comparisons: Science / Medical Films And Television

The time is ripe to begin to synthesize a broad historical account of non-fiction science films and television. Up until recently, most historians and media critics have tended to analyze science in film and television through individual case studies, through micro-histories of individual films or programmes, or through close accounts of singular image artifacts (as with the series of articles by the late Roger Silverstone and his book on Britain’s BBC2 mainstay “Horizon”). Other studies look at how science affects periods or genres, such as “New Deal” films or animal films, or at how science in film and television is shaped by different national cultures.

But, whether for the sake of broader understanding of the cultural history of science, or to enhance scientific citizenship, or to enhance pedagogy, it is necessary to build a broader account of the history of science in non-fiction moving image media. Accordingly, this area invites contributions that contain comparisons between different non-fiction representations of science, technology and medicine, or alternatively that deliberately offer themselves up for comparative treatment.

Possible Comparative Questions:

Have co-production deals dissolved international differences in science television documentary style?

Is television (or film) documentary influenced by scientists more in some periods or places than in others?

Is science and medical documentary drama more significant in some eras than others? If so, why?

Do some medical specializations get better coverage in one country or era and not in another?

What similarities and differences are there between health-education films from different countries and regimes in the same period?

Have nature films been effectively the same since 1900?

Do different kinds of audiences watch science films in different countries?

Comparative topics:

Scale in science films: microscopic vs. macroscopic imaging

Clinical vs. Public Health films

Brain vs. Heart

Differential depictions of men and women, of different races, of animals vs. people.

Please send initial enquiries at any time or a 300-word proposal by November 1, 2007 to

Tim Boon Chief Curator, The Science Museum London SW7 2DD UK tim.boon at

Panel proposals for up to four presenters are also welcome, but each presenter must submit his or her own paper proposal. Deadline for first-round proposals: November 1, 2007