Paul Verhoeven @85

Nathan Abrams's picture
Call for Papers
May 1, 2023
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Film and Film History

Paul Verhoeven @85

An in-person academic conference hosted by The Centre for Film, Television and Screen Studies, Bangor University, UK

7 and 8 September 2023

Paul Verhoeven (b. 1938) has left an indelible mark on popular culture. His films marry a European arthouse sensibility with the US blockbuster but in a wickedly satirical way. But this does not mean his films are not open to criticism. 

His American dystopic trilogy – RoboCop (1987), Total Recall (1990) and Starship Troopers (1997) – provided dark visions of futuristic metropoles that continue to resonate to this day, touching on capitalism, robotics, biopolitics, posthumanism, urban planning, artificial intelligence, transhumanism and climate change, while female-led dramas, such as Basic Instinct (1992), Showgirls (1995), Black Book (2006), Elle (2016) and Benedetta (2021), remain controversial for their overt eroticism, sexual violence and representation of lesbianism. 

To critically explore the origins and legacies of Verhoeven’s body of work, this conference proposes to bring together scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to explore Paul Verhoeven’s output, debate its legacy and consider its position within visual culture including specialists from fields as diverse as literary and cinematographic studies; the history of art, design, fashion and architecture; musicology; philosophy; political sciences; computer science and robotics; urban and ecological studies; and feminist, queer and sexuality studies. 

We welcome contributions from any perspective such as (but not limited to) the following:

Paul Verhoeven as auteur: origins, influences, production, aesthetics, publicity, reception, afterlife, sequels and director’s cuts 

Paul Verhoeven and biopolitics, posthumanism, urban planning and climate change

Paul Verhoeven and capitalism, neoliberalism, post-industrialism and the rise of multinational corporations

Paul Verhoeven and gender

Paul Verhoeven and memory 

Paul Verhoeven and psychoanalysis

Paul Verhoeven and race, ethnicity and Otherness

Paul Verhoeven and reception: audiences, fandom and ‘cult’

Paul Verhoeven and robotics, artificial intelligence, cybernetic organisms, the transhuman and the post-human

Paul Verhoeven and science fiction

Paul Verhoeven and sexuality

Paul Verhoeven and stardom

Paul Verhoeven and tech noir, retrofuturism, future noir, and cyberpunk. 

We are applying for funding to facilitate postgraduate and unwaged participation.

Please complete the following link by 1 May 2023.

For further information, please contact the organisers Nathan Abrams and Elizabeth Miller (