CFP: Explorers and Explorations – Film and History Conference, 2015



Explorers and Exploration

An area of multiple panels for the 2015 Film& History  Conference: Journeys, ,Breakdowns November 5 – 8, 2015 The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club Madison, WI (USA)


DEADLINE for abstracts: June 1, 2015


AREA: Explorers and Exploration “The end of all our exploring,” T. S. Eliot wrote, “will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the  first time.” Discovery, though the inevitable product of exploration, is but one of many motivations for it. Explorers have ventured “over the next hill” in  search of fame and fortune, converts and conquests, to gather Scientific knowledge and to satisfy their own curiosity. They have reached the peaks of the world’s mountains, the depths of its seas, and the remotest corners of its surface. They have left footprints on Moon, robots on Mars, and calling cards in the space between the stars.

This area, comprising multiple panels, welcomes papers dealing with any depiction of exploration on film or television: documentary or drama, realistic  or fantastic, set in the past, present, or imagined future. How have film and television portrayed the great explorers of the past, and how have those portrayals evolved with historians’ understanding of them? How do the conventions of sea stories, jungle adventures, and space epics shape depictions of exploration on screen? How do portrayals of scientist–‐ explorers like Indiana Jones challenge—or reinforce—our stereotypes about scientists? How have explorers used film and television to document, promote, and fund their explorations? Have onscreen tales of exploration promoted (or critiqued) narratives of nationalism, imperialism, and Manifest Destiny? Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

• The explorer as (national) hero: Marco Polo, Scott of the Antarctic, Ten Who Dared

• The explorer as (tragic) hero: Burke & Wills, Mountains of the Moon, Amelia

• Exploration and imperialism: Master & Commander, The Mission, Aguirre

• Explorers as onscreen guides: Martin & Osa Johnson, Frank Buck, Jacques Cousteau

• Changing reputations, from Christopher Columbus to Robert Falcon Scott

• Scientists as explorers (and action heroes?) on screen

• Document—Celebrate—Promote: Film and television as explorers’ tools

• Depicting unexplored worlds on film (Forbidden Planet, Fantastic Voyage, The


• Hooray for Captain Spaulding: the explorer as stock character

• Adventures in time & space: Exploration in science fiction film & television

• Exploration as period piece: Verne, Wells, and Burroughs on screen


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


Please email your 200–‐word proposal by 1 June 2015 to the area chair: A. Bowdoin Van Riper Independent Scholar

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