“Melodrama in Nineteenth-Century Theatre & Early Film”

Arnold A. Schmidt's picture
Call for Papers
September 15, 2019
New York, United States
Subject Fields: 
Theatre & Performance History / Studies, Popular Culture Studies, Literature, Film and Film History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies

            In recent decades, studies in Melodrama have flourished, led by scholars like Michael Booth, Peter Brooks, Frederick Burwick, Marty Gould, Jane Moody, John Storey, and others.  In addition to researching melodrama’s cultural and social significance to the nineteenth-century stage, some, like Matthew Kaiser, have also considered what Elaine Hadley terms the “melodramatic mode,” uses of melodramatic rhetoric and elements in non-theatrical venues like political and historical discourse, as well as journalism and fiction. 

I seek paper proposals for a session on “Melodrama in Nineteenth-Century Theatre & Early Film” that will address the topic in ways that raise theoretical issues.  The session forms part of the Nineteenth-Century Studies Association Conference, which revolves around the theme of “Radicalism and Reform.”  The conference takes place 18-22 March 2020 in Rochester, NY, home of the George Eastman Museum, and it will be possible to visit this exemplary collection of early photographs and films.

            In hopes of having a broad, interdisciplinary discussion, I welcome scholars of Art History, Economics, Film & Media Studies, History, (including Historians of Science), Literature (English and non-English), Musicology, Philosophy, Theatre, and other disciplines.  I seek speakers who can address topics that include, but are not limited to, the following:

            -- the “Melodramatic mode” in journalism, history, politics.

-- ideological subversion and the “happy” ending.

-- heroes and heroines, villains and henchmen.

            -- stage melodrama vs early film melodrama.

-- reinforcing and undermining gender stereotypes.

            -- nautical, “factory,” domestic, gothic, and sentimental melodramas (and combinations thereof).

-- crossdressing and racial passing.

-- images of slavery (Antebellum, African, Barbary, Asian, and South Asian).

-- representations of indigenous peoples/first nations.

Please submit 250-word paper abstracts for 15-to-20-minute papers and one-page CVs to aschmidt@csustan.edu by September 15.  General conference information can be found here: http://www.ncsaweb.net/Current-Conference.  And do email me with any questions you might have. 



Contact Info: 

Arnold Anthony Schmidt

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