Engaging the Elephant: Using Movies to Facilitate Difficult Conversations about Race in the Classroom

Janice D. Hamlet's picture
Call for Papers
June 30, 2018
United States

Engaging the Elephant in the Room seeks to stimulate difficult discussions about race among diverse students in the college classroom. Analysis of select films focusing on race will raise consciousness about race, racism, and race relations to facilitate dialogue in the classroom as a counterspace or safe way to real life experiences. The editors are interested in carefully conceived proposals for manuscripts which will critically examine a select film as it relates to race, racism and/or race relations utilizing critical race theory as an over-arching theoretical framework. Critical Race Theory (CRT) acknowledges as a basic premise that race and racism are defining characteristics of American society.  CRT reveals how the dominant ideology of colorblindness and race neutrality act as a camouflage for the self-interest, power, and privilege of dominant groups in American society.  As a concluding section of analysis, the editors are interested in scholars offering suggestions on how to teach the film and engage students in a conversation about race and/or race relations. The editors are particularly interested in proposals that focus on one of the following films: 

  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Get Out! (2017)
  • Mudbound (2017)
  • Hidden Figures (2016)
  • Zootopia (2016)
  • Crash (2014)
  • Dear White People (2014)
  • Selma (2014)
  • 12 Years a Slave (2013)
  • 42 (2013)
  • The Butler (2013)
  • Fruitvale Station (2013)
  • Django Unchained (2012)
  • The Help (2011)
  • Remember the Titans (2000)
  • Higher Learning (1995)
  • Mississippi Masala
  • The Big Sick

Submission of Extended Abstracts:

Potential authors should submit a preliminary proposal in the form of an extended abstract of approximately two to three pages prepared in APA style, 6th edition.

Proposals should include (a) an overview of select film; (b) a discussion of the specific focus of select film along with a compelling rationale for this focus; (c) although critical race theory should be the overarching theoretical perspective for the volume, offer the specific methodological frameworks that will be used in critiquing the film; (c) a preliminary sketch of what claims the author expects to make; (d) A brief author biography. The title page must be submitted as a separate page and should include all contact information (i.e. name, mailing address, email address, telephone number, fax number).

Authors should propose papers whose focus are relevant to critical issues in society and relevant not only to an interdisciplinary audience but also a diverse audience --undergraduates, graduates, researchers, non-specialists.

 Authors whose proposals are accepted for inclusion will be invited to submit a complete l manuscript of roughly 6,000-8,000 words (12-16 pgs.)  All complete manuscripts submissions must include a section at the end focusing on how a discussion of the select film can be used to facilitate discussion about race, racism and /or race relations in the classroom including 3-5 discussion questions or 1-2 class activities (or a combination of the two. Authors of selected proposals will receive a manuscript guideline sheet. 


Proposals due: June 30


Decision on abstracts: no later than July 30

Full papers due (for those proposals accepted):  October 30


Contact Info: 

Janice D. Hamlet, Ph.D., Department of Communication, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL 60115



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