An area of multiple panels for the 2013 Film & History Conference on
Making Movie$: The Figure of Money On and Off the Screen, November 20-24, 2013
Madison Concourse Hotel (Madison, WI)
DEADLINE for abstracts: July 1, 2013
AREA: Capital, Inc.: Capitalists, Capitalism, and Corporations in the Cinematic Imagination
The history of film bears the marks of economic crises, especially recently, with films addressing not only the downturn since 2008 but also broader, even esoteric, trends such as financialization, regulatory capture, outsourcing, rising inequality, and an accelerating trend towards plutocracy. Hollywood often vilifies corporate capitalism. Sometimes it exalts it. Is Hollywood liberal or conservative toward Wall Street? When are film and television trapped inside the platitudes of left-wing or right-wing definitions of the “corporation”? And when do some films move beyond them? How does the economic failure or success imagined on film characterize or redefine “capital” for its target audience? What cinematic figures of corporate capitalism affirm or subvert the national character—and why?
This area, comprising multiple panels, welcomes proposals for individual papers or full panels that examine how filmmakers have imagined, critiqued, and/or underwritten capitalism through depictions of corporations and/or its employees, whether CEOs, middle-managers, cubicle dwellers, or blue-collar laborers. Proposals are welcome to draw upon recent titles or older films. They are also welcome to focus on films produced outside of the United States, to explain how corporate capitalism is produced and consumed cinematically for a global audience. Possible topics:
• Office Workers (9 to 5, Clockwatchers, Office Space)
• High Finance (Trading Places, Wall Street, Other People’s Money)
• Unions (The Devil and Miss Jones, Blue Collar, Norma Rae)
• Bourgeois Alienation (The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Fight Club, American Beauty)
• Media (Network, Broadcast News, The Insider)
• Consumerism (Dawn of the Dead, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Wall-E)
• Documentaries (Roger and Me, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, The Corporation)
• Corporations in Space (Rollerball, Alien, Robocop)
• The Great Recession (Les Misérables, The Dark Knight Rises, Margin Call, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, The Other Guys, Tower Heist, In Time, The Hunger Games, Inside Job, The Queen of Versailles, The Company Men, Up in the Air, The Descendants, The Girlfriend Experience, Capitalism: A Love Story).