CFP: Howard Hawks: New Perspectives (deadline: December 1, 2010)

27 08 2010

Howard Hawks: New Perspectives
Call for Papers (Edited Collection)
Deadline for proposals: 1 December, 2010

Although Hawks is often acknowledged as the director of some of Hollywood‚s most critically acclaimed and enduringly popular films, he also seems something of a marginalised figure. He may be listed as one of the important auteurs in American cinema, but he hasn’t received the same kind of scrutiny as figures such as Welles, Hitchcock, Ford, or Wilder. While each of these figures has attracted a substantial number of critical and biographical studies, the first major biography of Hawks (by Todd McCarthy) didn‚t appear until 1997.

One possible explanation for this is that Hawks‚s films don‚t seem to have a distinctively identifiable style and appear to lack the requisite directorial “signature” of the auteur. Or, as Manny Farber put it, his films “are as different as they’re similar.” Another explanation is that Hawks‚s films don’t appear to present the same kind of difficulty or complexity found in the work of other auteurs: he is often described as a “storyteller” whose films have been seen as straightforward and simply-told stories. (As early as 1928, a French review of Hawks’s A Girl in Every Port was already speaking of his “simplifying style”.) It is also the case that accounts of the films often fall back on received ideas or taken-for-granted categories such as the “Hawksian woman” or the male group. In other words Hawks seems to be a known entity whose work causes few problems of interpretation. This is further compounded by the lack of any clear relationship of narrative theme to visual style, with some of his most distinctive features being concerned more with performance, dialogue, and verbal delivery. Stylistically, it is instructive to note Hawks’s fascination with jazz and his own use of improvisational techniques in both rehearsal and shooting, techniques that might suggest a very different notion of his filmmaking method and style. Given that one of Hawks’s recurrent themes is precisely the refusal of simple categorisations, there is a need to return to his work and question the ways in which his themes and styles have been pigeonholed.
For this collection of essays we are therefore looking for work contributing to new and original perspectives on Hawks. It is anticipated that the collection would be grouped around the following suggested areas, although other approaches that have not been predicted here would also be very welcome.

    Hawks’s silent films
    Hawks and visual/aural style
    Hawks and music
    Hawks’s “failures and marginal works” (Robin Wood)
    Hawks’s generic promiscuity
    Interrogating “Hawksian”
    Hawks’s contractural career
    Hawks and the studios
    Reassessing “the Hawksian woman”
    Hawks as collaborative auteur
    Hawks’s literary collaborations
    Hawks as improviser
    Hawks and adaptation

Schedule
1 December, 2010: Deadline for proposals (max 250 words + working title)
1 February, 2011: Contributors to be advised of decision
1 March, 2011: Book proposal to be sent to publishers
1 September, 2012: Completed articles (6000-8000 words) due for submission
1 February, 2013: Authors to be advised of any requested editorial revisions
1 July, 2013: Revised articles due for return
1 September, 2013: Manuscript to be sent to publisher

Please send an abstract (maximum 250 words) together with a working title to the following by 1 December, 2010:
Dr Ian Brookes
Department of Culture, Film and Media
School of Modern Languages and Cultures
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD
UK

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