CFP: Be/longing: Women and the American Home (6/1/17; 11/1-5/17)

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Be/longing: Women and the American Home

An area of multiple panels for the 2017 Film & History Conference:

Representing “Home”: The Real and Imagined Spaces of Belonging
The Hilton—Milwaukee City Center, Milwaukee, WI (USA)
November 1-5, 2017

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

The American home signifies American family values, which, from Colonial settlement to the present, have been embodied and promoted by women who serve as the moral backbone of the nuclear family.  From the duties of republican women during the American Revolution; to the pious and virtuous women of the 19th century Cult of True Womanhood; to the women holding down the “homefront” during WWII; to the ideal housewife of the 1950s; and the backbone of the Conservative “Family Values” campaign of the New Right; women have continually served as a conduit through which to idealize the home space in the United States. 

How have films and television programming variously represented women’s historical and contemporary longing for, and rejection of, the home space, demonstrating it as a site of contestation about where women be/long? How have women who struggle to disentangle from classist, idealized, heteronormative expectations of marriage and motherhood been portrayed in film and television?  In what ways have these narratives reflected and helped shape ideologies of women’s place in America?

This area invites 20-minute papers (inclusive of visual presentations) considering any aspect of the relationship between (including the rejection of) women and/or the home and American family values. Topics include, but are not limited to:

*  Women’s longing for the home – in what ways are women portrayed as desiring the idealized home space? (for example: Girl on the Train, Home for the Holidays, Jackie, Joy)

*  Women’s rejection of the home – in what ways are women depicted as resisting the idealization of home? (for example: Shameless, Trainwreck, Mona Lisa Smile, Grey Gardens, Rachel Getting Married, Pleasantville)

*  Women’s reimagination of the home – in what ways are women re-crafting/re-inventing home to meet their own needs? (for example: The Fosters, X-Men, The Kids Are All Right, Mask, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Mermaids, Fried Green Tomatos)

* Women, motherhood, and the home – how do women navigate the expectations of motherhood and the home?  (for example: Gilmore Girls, Bad Moms, Mommy Dearest, Parenthood, Mothers and Daughters, Terms of Endearment, Joy Luck Club)

*  Women and American family values – in what ways are women being used as representations of the success and dominance of American family values? (for example: Miracles from Heaven)

* Women and loss of home – how are women’s identities tied to the home, and what happens when that is lost? (for example: Step Mom)

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 about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (

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

Laura D’Amore

Roger Williams University