Good Guys Always Wear White?
Heroes and Villains of the Golden Age and Beyond

An Area of Multiple Panels for the
2014 Film & History Conference
Golden Ages: Styles and Personalities, Genres and Histories

List of All Areas Main Conference Page

DEADLINE for abstracts: June 1, 2014

From their first flickers on the Silver Screen, films have narrated the epic struggle between good and evil—hero/ines against their nemesis villain/esses. In The Wizard of Oz, audiences watched Judy Garland journey across the many lands of Oz, fight off the evil Wicked Witch of the West, and then wish her way home. They rode into the sunset with John Wayne, gasped in terror at the sight of Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, and uncovered the secrets of The Matrix with Keanu Reeves. Whether unproblematic binary opposites or dark and conflicted characters that blur the boundaries of good and evil, how do these classic cinematic staples offer commentary on our values, identities, and shared hopes and fears?

The Heroes and Villains area invites 20-minute papers that examine the constructions, understandings, and struggles of and between hero/ines and villain/esses. How might they influence our understandings of the often-shifting borders across and between heroism and villainy, good and evil? This area invites broad considerations of these conceptualizations and some topics to consider include:

• Gotham Calling: heroes and their relationships with society (Batman, Superman, Watchmen)

• Heroes without a villain (The Old Man and the Sea, Vertical Limit, 127 Hours)

• The compelling villain (Hannibal Lecter, Dexter, Dracula)

• Heroic/villainous constructions and their historic moments (World War II, the Atomic Age, Post-9/11)

• Diversity in heroism and villainy: race, gender, age, and ethnicity (Clint Eastwood, Halle Berry, Mystery Men)

• Cinematic styles and signifiers of good and evil

• Our dark knights: anti-heroes and sympathetic villains (the Joker, Ethan Edwards, Travis Bickle)

Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (

Please e-mail your 200-word proposal by 1 June 2014, to the area chair:

Norma Jones
College of Communication and Information
Kent State University


Movie Posters