Representing "Home"
The 2017 Film & History Conference

CFP: Behind Closed Doors: Biopics, Documentaries, and the Domestic


An area of multiple panels for the 2017 Film & History Conference:
Representing Home: The Real and Imagined Spaces of Belonging
November 1-November 5, 2017
The Milwaukee Hilton
Milwaukee, WI (USA)

DEADLINE for abstracts: June 1, 2017 (early decision) July 1, 2017 (general decision)

One of the things that film and television have allowed us to do is look in on the lives of others, into the homes and domestic spaces of others: fictional and real. Behind Closed Doors: Biopics, Documentaries, and the Domestic focuses on screen representations of the domestic sphere in two particular forms: Biopics and Documentaries.

Biopics, on film or television, have conventionally been understood as the screen equivalent of written biographies. There has been a recent resurgence and (financial and critical) success of these screen biographies, including films such as The Kings Speech (2010), The Imitation Game (2014) and I’m Not There (2007). But what does such screen voyeurism mean for historical research, are they ‘historical’ productions, or something else altogether?

The documentary form is nearly as old as cinema itself, promising a significant relationship between what is on screen and reality. However, as the documentary has developed over the decades, both the ‘mockumentary’ and reality television have complicated the genre. How are we to understand these various opportunities to see the domestic and the unseen, to eyewitness (or testify) and to investigate the relationship between the screen and the real?

This area invites 20-minute papers (inclusive of visual presentations) considering the portrayal, function, and the meaning of home and the domestic within Biopics and Documentaries. Topics include, but are not limited to:

• Historical analyses of individual Biopics or Documentaries that engage with the idea of the domestic realm on screen;
• Comparative historical analyses of how specific individuals – and their domestic lives – have been portrayed in Documentary and in Biopics;
• Explorations of the relationship between the ‘real’ domestic world and its representations on screen;
• The significance and relevance of Biopics for historical education (at all levels)
• The significance and relevance of Documentaries for historical education (at all levels)
• Explorations of specific examples of Biopics that have had significant input (or total control) from historians (the historian as filmmaker);
• Explorations of specific examples of Documentaries that have had significant input (or total control) from historians (the historian as filmmaker);
• Considerations of reality television as a new form of domestic Documentaries on the small screen, and its significance for history.

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, see the Film & History website (www.filmandhistory.org).

Please e-mail your 200-word proposal to the area chair:

Mia Treacey
Monash University
mia.treacey@monash.edu or mia@screenedhistory.com

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