The following is a call for proposals for the Film and History conference, which takes place November 7-11, 2018, in Madison, Wisconsin. I have attended this conference on and off for more than a decade, and I highly recommend it.

The smaller size and intriguing subjects (see this year’s conference theme) make for something new and different each time. In one year, I met D.A. Pennebaker and sat 10 feet away from Hanson — yes, the “MMMbop” group.

I created the “Documenting Immigrants, Migrants, and Refugees” area in response to the issues of displaced and mobile populations happening in the United States and around the world: Syrian refugees, the Rohingya, and DACA and ICE, just to name three. Documentary long has played roles in raising awareness about these populations and their challenges.

I seek presentations that explore the intersections of these issues, and I hope you will consider submitting. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Call for Papers

Documenting Immigrants, Migrants, and Refugees
An area of multiple panels for the 2018 Film & History Conference: Citizenship and Sociopathy in Film, Television, and New Media
November 7-11, 2018
Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, Madison, WI, USA
Full details available here:


Abstracts are due June 1, 2018.


According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “everyone has the right to a nationality.” With that right comes senses of identity and belonging, plus other affordances and responsibilities of citizenship. Some populations, though, become mobile, with some individuals and families migrating by choice, while others are forced into statelessness as the result of war, famine, and other forms of oppression.

Drawing on senses of urgency and emergency, human rights and other social documentaries represent these immigrants, migrants, and refugees on their journeys from one land to another, from one citizenship to another citizenship, or in an ongoing struggle for acceptance and place. This area seeks papers that address documentary representations in film, television, and new media of the experiences of these mobile populations.

Along with close readings of individual documentaries, other possible topics may include, but are not limited to

  • The impact of formal documentary styles, such as cinema verité or Photovoice
  • The role of key institutions that create and distribute these chronicles, such as Human Rights Watch and the National Film Board of Canada
  • Documentarians whose work focuses on immigrants and refugees
  • Ways in which immigrant and refugee issues are represented through lenses such as gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and faith

Proposals for complete panels of three related presentations are also welcome, but should include an abstract and contact information (including email) for each presenter.

Please send your 200-word proposal to the area chair.