Beginning with The Story of Louis Pasteur in the late 1930s, a small but steady stream of films–documentaries, dramas, and occasional comedies–have focused on the great scientists of the past. Newton, Darwin, and Einstein have all had their turns on screen, as have J. Robert Oppenheimer (Day One, Fat Man and Little Boy, and the award- winning The Day After Trinity), Dian Fossey (Gorillas in the Mist), James Watson and Francis Crick (The Race for the Double Helix), Marie and Pierre Curie (Madame Curie), and many others. These films have, for better or worse, a key role in shaping the public understanding of how science works.
This area welcomes all papers that deal with films and television programs depicting real scientists whose work was important enough or influential enough to give them iconic status at the time the film was made. The list of scientists in the preceding paragraph is meant to be suggestive, but by no means exhaustive. “Scientist” is meant, for the purposes of this area, to include medical researchers (as in Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet or And the Band Played On) but to exclude engineers and inventors (as in The Story of Alexander Graham Bell and Young Thomas Edison).
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
Depictions of historic scientists in specific films or television programs Depictions of a particular scientist in multiple films and/or television programs Real scientists, fictionalized (Edward Teller/Dr. Strangelove, T. H. Huxley/Professor Challenger) Historic scientists on the A&E network’s Biography Historic scientists in classroom films Use of dramatic conventions in telling “real” stories about scientists Real scientists in non-US film and television Documentaries about historic scientists Historic scientists as supporting players (e.g. Lord Kelvin in the 2005 Around the World in Eighty Days) Patterns: Who gets films made about them? Who gets overlooked?
Please send your 200-word proposal (email is fine) by November 1, 2007 to:
A. Bowdoin Van Riper Social and International Studies Department Southern Polytechnic State University 1100 South Marietta Parkway Marietta, GA 30060 Email: [email protected]
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.
This area, comprising multiple panels, is a part of the 2008 biennial Film & History Conference, sponsored by The Center for the Study of Film and History. Speakers will include founder John O’Connor and editor Peter C. Rollins (in a ceremony to celebrate the transfer to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh); Wheeler Winston Dixon, author of Visions of the Apocalypse, Disaster and Memory, and Lost in the Fifties: Recovering Phantom Hollywood; and Emmy award-winning writer and producer John Rubin. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (http://www.filmandhistory.org).