Wednesday Links

At least, I think it’s Wednesday…I always lose track of time in the summer. At any rate, here are the links:

  • First, a little self-promotion. Ted at Big Screen Little Screen took a short break from blogging while traveling to Tokyo, but to keep the blog running, he invited a group of film and media types, including myself, to guest blog. I ended up writing about this summer’s big topic: the indie film crisis and what it means for independent filmmakers and audiences.
  • Second, I wanted to mention that Jill Walker’s book on blogging is out. Readers in the UK can pick up the book via Amazon, but US readers will apparently have to wait a few more weeks. I’ve been reading Jill’s blog for years and can’t wait to read the book.
  • Finally, Chris Hansen has a proposed panel on any topic related to the Doctor Who phenomenon for this year’s Film & History Conference which will take place October 30-November 2 in Chicago. I’ll include the full text of the CFP below the fold.


Third-Round Deadline: August 1, 2008

AREA: Doctor Who

Doctor Who first entered the public consciousness on November 23, 1963, as a new science fiction serial on the BBC. Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Longest Running Science Fiction Television Show, the serial is a national institution in its home country – the subject of countless pop-culture references – and a popular export to American public television stations. As a televised serial, Doctor Who has exhibited features dared by few others, from its controversial content, to its public ranking in the 1970s as the most violent programming produced by the BBC, to the serial’s constant re-casting of the leading man, the adventurous Doctor, whose alien biology conveniently allows for regeneration.

These controversies and innovations, along with the evolution of a complex “Whoniverse” of audio stories, novels, and entries in various other media (the “canonicity” of most of which is still in question), not only have turned the enigmatic Doctor Who into a cult figure but have interwoven time and history through grand adventures that address issues of human existence and the meaning of civilization. The newest edition of the series, which continues the storyline/timeline from the original, often features the Doctor interacting with historical figures (and making wry commentary on current events in the process) and explores more deeply the dilemma of the Doctor as a lonely traveler who will generally outlive any human companion who joins him or who falls in love with him.

The Doctor is clearly a man of science, yet his function on the show is often God-like, with occasional explicit references to him as a Christ-figure. How does the Doctor’s dual role comment on the role of science in society? In its peregrinations through human events, what does the show say about the construction of history? What does it say about national/British identity in the new millennium or about the uneasy relationship between Western empiricism and theological mysticism?

Papers and panels are invited on the topic of the Doctor Who series. Possible topics include but are not limited to the following:

Cultural commentary and trans-historical morality tales
Issues of and intertextuality and metafiction
Historical figures and the depiction of historical events (and the Doctor’s role in them)
The role of technological innovation and special effects
Fan cultures
Gender and sexuality
Psychological models
Canonicity of other media
Use of guest stars/actors
Religious imagery and allegory
The role of visual technology (including film and television) in the show’s content

Please submit all proposals by August 1, 2008, to the area chair:

Professor Christopher Hansen
Baylor University
Department of Communication Studies
One Bear Place #97368
Waco, TX 76798
254-710-4464
christopher_hansen@baylor.edu

Submissions by email are encouraged.

Panel proposals for up to four presenters are also welcome, but each presenter must submit his or her own paper proposal. Deadline: August 1, 2008.

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