Styles & Personalities, Genres & Histories
The 2014 Film & History Conference
The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club
Madison, WI (USA)
29 October--2 November, 2014
Do we see the “golden ages” of the moving-image arts with skepticism or
admiration? They certainly represent success, often rightly: in production
style and screen presence, in formal structure and historical significance.
But what attitudes—from directors and stars to audiences and critics—define
that success? A certain kind of screwball comedy triumphed in the ‘30s; a
certain kind of film noir, in the ‘40s. Screen and television
personalities, along with directorial styles and critical approaches, rose
and fell alongside these genres, which themselves were pushed and pulled by
complex historical forces, like the entrance of sound and the descent into
world war. But few “ages” were homogenous. Consider Vertov against
Eisenstein, Welles against Wise, Lynch against Spielberg. So how and why do
we ascribe success to a style, a person, or a period? Popularity?
Just as pressing, what periods or styles or characters await rediscovery
and redefinition? Are there secret Golden Ages, buried under
misunderstanding or lurking in the shadows of the many celebrated ages of
film history, from the Silent Era to the Studio Era to the rise and fall of
network TV? What do Golden Ages tell us about the cultures or values that
languished because of them—or because of how we define what is “golden”?
Similarly, can an industry or genre or period have more than one Golden
Age, perhaps in competition? And what might an “Iron Age” look like—for
actors, directors, critics? Can everything be “golden”?
The 2014 Film & History Conference will be held at The Madison Concourse
Hotel (in the heart of downtown Madison, Wisconsin, next to the historic Capitol),
October 29 - November 2, 2014. F&H attendees will receive discounted room
rates for this premier hotel. Air travel may be arranged conveniently to
Madison, Milwaukee, or Chicago.
Past Film & History Conferences
The Film & History conference, first staged by Peter and Susan Rollins in 2000, became an ongoing tradition -- first biennial and then, beginning with the 2013 meeting, annual -- and a meeting place for attendees, from graduate students to senior scholars, representing a wide range of countries and disciplines.