CfP: The Wizard of Oz and the Western Cultural Imagination (University of Brighton)

University of Brighton:
„The Wizard of Oz and the Western Cultural Imagination: A Conference celebrating and interrogating 75 years of the MGM Musical“
November 21-22, 2014 – University of Brighton, UK
Deadline: 1st March 2014

The Wizard of Oz has received sustained interest from audiences, sparking numerous spinoff films (Return to Oz; Oz: The Great and Powerful, Yellowbrickroad), musicals (Wicked; The Wiz), as well as TV programmes and documentaries (The Tin Man; The Secret of Oz). Baum’s original tale has been reanimated and illustrated numerous times (most recently by Graham Rawle) and the book and film has inspired and featured in pop music albums by the likes of Elton John (Yellow Brick Road) and Robbie Williams (Swings Both Ways). The music to MGM’s Wizard of Oz also contributed to the public responses to the death of Margaret Thatcher in 2013.

Despite being firmly embedded in the Western cultural imagination, the legacy of The Wizard of Oz has received rather sparse critical reception. Taking place in the same month that saw the release of the film in the UK, this interdisicplinary conference seeks to fill this void and explore the film and its legacy through a series of innovative presentations that explores ideas such as:

  • the Wizard of Oz within American and UK television programming;
  • young women’s agency;
  • representations of twisters, tornados, and hurricanes;
  • Technicolor and the emergence of colour film;
  • the Hollywood musical;
  • stardom and fandom;
  • intermedial history and the story’s migration to other media;
  • paratexts, advertising and memorabilia;
  • music, magic, witches and myth;
  • representations of the American rural landscape and the Depression;
  • gender and sexuality;
  • the Wizard of Oz and cultural capital;
  • carnivals, traveling shows, and fairgrounds;
  • costume and the iconography of shoes.

Proposals from all academic disciplines are welcome and can take the form of a paper, performance, artwork or poster presentation. Innovative presentation formats are encouraged. The conference will include a fancy dress, sing-along screening of the film. Please submit 300-word abstracts to ozat75 at . Papers should be 15-20 minutes in length.

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