CFP: Families on Screen in the Americas Since 1970 – Paris 9.-11.10.19

Institut des Amériques
09.10.2019-11.10.2019, Paris
Deadline: 15.10.2018

International Conference: Congrès de l’Institut des Amériques (9-11
October 2019, Paris)

Panel 10 – Families on Screen in the Americas Since 1970

The 1960s are known as a period of profound economic, social and
political turmoil. In Western societies, revolutionary uproars directly
impacted the bourgeois ideal of the nuclear family inherited from the
19th century. In this family structure, the head of household is an
all-powerful father wielding his authority over wife and children. The
male breadwinner-female homemaker family model popularized after World
War II started to erode from the 1960s onwards to finally splinter in
the 1970s. With its fast-growing viewership at the time, television has
contributed to this evolution somewhat paradoxically. On the one hand,
televisual productions could reproduce the established order. But on the
other hand, they could incorporate sociocultural changes that became

TV shows constitute invaluable sources to study these transformations as
family issues have long held a key position in television productions
across the Americas. Since the 1950s, many TV shows from the northern
part of the continent have revolved entirely around families like
Bewitched (1964-1972). In South America, the telenovela genre has
focused on romantic relationships but usually within a family setting.
It was the case of El derecho de nacer (1965-67), a Venezuelan
telenovela based on the scenario of a Cuban radionovela which attracted
a great number of viewers in South America during the 1960s. Yet, the
1970s saw new productions that called into question the image of the
traditional family. In the USA, stories started to feature single women
(The Mary Tyler Moore Show 1970-1977), working-class families (All in
the Family 1971-1979), blended families (The Brady Bunch 1969-1974),
single mothers (The Partridge Family 1970-1974), non-white families
(Sanford and Son 1972-1977), adopted children (Diff’rent Strokes
1978-1985), characters dealing with disabilities (Life Goes On
1989-1993) and same-sex parents (It’s All Relative 2003-2004). In South
America, there was also a rupture in the representation of the bourgeois
nuclear family. Class conflicts and criticism towards the bourgeoisie
were depicted in telenovelas like Natacha (1970) or the well-known Los
ricos también lloran (1979-1980). Brazilian productions presented the
most innovative stories between 1970 and 2000. A sucessora (1978-1979),
Vale tudo (1988-1989) or Tieta (1989-1990) still come to mind. However,
racism has remained taboo in South America, including in Brazil where
more than half of the population is of African descent.

This session seeks to explore how television productions have portrayed
family relationships across the Americas since the 1970s. We welcome
contributions emphasizing how TV shows participate in contemporary
debates about the family. We invite proposals in Spanish, Portuguese,
English and French that apply cross-disciplinary, cross-national and
comparative methods. We are interested in papers that explicitly address
normative constructions of sex/gender. We particularly welcome proposals
exploring the following topics:
– Women’s roles
– Parenthood
– Intergenerational relationships

Interested contributors should submit abstracts of 650 words maximum by
October 15th, 2018.

Please use the following template to prepare your abstract:

Files must be submitted in a PDF format at this page:

We look forward to reading your submissions!

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