Monday, March 01, 2010

Call for Papers--Deadline Extended!

If you're reading this, you may already have heard about the upcoming 2010 Film & History Conference: Representations of Love in Film and Television, November 11-14, 2010. The deadline for submissions has been extended from 1 March 2010 (i.e., today) to 1 June, 2010, and since I've only gotten a couple of submissions so far, I must admit, I'm very glad to hear it!

The full list of panels can be found here. My own panel is on Sons of the Sheik: Global Perspectives on the Alpha Male in Love. I'm not a film scholar by training, so if you're interested in slipping out of your usual area of expertise to try something new, your proposal will fall on sympathetic ears. Also, the panel is open to talks about movies that play with or entirely subvert the "alpha male" concept, as you'll see from the trailer above and the description below. (The links that Laura added are still embedded--you can use them to see the range of films I have in mind.)
Masterful, confident, erotically charged, the “Alpha Male” has been a cinematic icon from Rudolph Valentino’s Sheik Ahmed ben Hassan (The Sheik, 1921) to Pierce Brosnan’s Thomas Crown (1999) and Hritik Roshan’s elusive criminal, “Mr. A” (Dhoom 2, 2006). As the hero in romantic films, this ideal of masculinity has proven enduringly popular with both male and female viewers, even as successive waves of feminism, in the West and around the globe, have challenged the sexual politics he implies.

How do representations of the Alpha Male in love differ across national, linguistic, and cultural boundaries? How have they changed across the past century, responding to historically- and regionally-specific shifts in gender roles and ideals? What happens to the Alpha Male hero when he stars in a romantic comedy, as opposed to a drama or melodrama? How much can we use this iconic figure to track the power of the female gaze or women’s desires, as has been done with the Alpha Male hero of popular romance fiction, given the fact that men continue to predominate in the writing and direction of the films (as opposed to the overwhelmingly female authorship and audience for romance novels)?

This area, comprising multiple panels, welcomes papers and panel proposals that examine all forms and genres of films featuring “Alpha” protagonists in love, as well as films which challenge, revise, or subvert the conventions surrounding this character. Possibilities include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

• Sheiks, Captains, Emperors, (The Sheik, Persuasion, Jodhaa Akbar)

• Alpha Male meets Alpha Female (The Thomas Crown Affair [1999], Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)

• Austen’s Alpha: Darcy and his Descendants (Pride and Prejudice)

• Sink Me! He’s an Alpha in Disguise! (The Scarlet Pimpernel, Zorro)

• Alpha / Beta Reversals and Alter-Egos (Rab Ne Bana di Jodi, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na)

• Suspicious Minds: the Alpha Criminal and Detective (Devil in a Blue Dress, The Big Sleep, Breathless)

• Athlete Alphas (Love & Basketball, Bull Durham)

• Alpha Lovers in Space (Han Solo, James T. Kirk)

• You’ve Got Male: Alphas in “Chick Flicks”

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

Eric Murphy Selinger
Associate Professor
Dept. of English
DePaul University
802 West Belden Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614 (email submissions preferred) Panel proposals for up to four presenters are also welcome, but each presenter must submit his or her own paper proposal.


  1. May I humbly suggest the correction of "Sheik" to "Sheikh" because the ending 'k' pronounciation is very different from an anglicized 'k' and is thus best represented as 'kh.' I believe Sheikh is how it is in all English texts of Asia incl ME.

  2. Keira, in this particular context, Eric is referring to E M Hull's novel called The Sheik so his usage reflects that.

  3. Indeed I am--and to the films of that novel and its sequel, "The Son of the Sheik."

    The vowel is also dreadfully mispronounced: a long e, so that the word sounds like the French "Chic."

    In class, I switch from the improper version when referring to the book by its title to the proper pronunciation (vowel and consonant, as best I can) when referring to the character, Sheikh Ahmed ben Hassan. Confusing to students, but less grating on the ear!