I am looking for paper proposals for a panel on Cinematic Canines at the Society for Cinema & Media Studies Conference in Los Angeles in March 2010.
The subject is obviously vast and still unfocused, so the nature of the paper proposals will help to shape the panel.
Recent years have produced a wealth of scholarship on animality in literature, history, philosophy, and cultural theory. Sigmund Freud and Jacques Derrida, among many others, have explored the human-animal kinship, and a 2006 book by Alice Kuzniar, Melancholia’s Dog: Reflections on Our Animal Kinship, looks specifically at this relationship in connection with grief. But there is very little scholarship, historical and/or theoretical, specifically on the role of dogs in film.
Since the advent of motion pictures, dogs have been featured on screen in various capacities, usually as “man’s best friend.” In Rescued by Rover (1905), a dog helps rescue a kidnapped baby. Both Charlie Chaplin and Roscoe Arbuckle skillfully used dogs in a comic capacity, a tradition continued in sound film with the crossword puzzle favorite, Asta, in the Thin Man series, or the fox terrier, Mr Smith, as the custodial subject in The Awful Truth (1937). The most famous dog “stars” may be Rin Tin Tin and Lassie, but many others have shared the limelight, such as those in the recent film, Marley and Me (2008), or My Dog Skip (2000), Homeward Bound (1993) White Fang (1991), Beethoven (1992), Turner and Hooch (1989), or where a dog isn’t so friendly, as in Cujo (1983), based on the Stephen King novel.
Please send 300-word abstract (with key references) and a brief bio by Saturday, August 1st, 2009 to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
All submitters will be notified whether or not their proposal has been accepted for the panel by August 8th.
Joanna E. Rapf
Department of Film & Media Studies
6194 Wilson Hall, Hanover, NH 03755-3543
(603) 643-6011 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the website at http://
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