CFP: Evo Film Theory Panel at SCMS

Applying evolutionary theory to film and literature is an emerging field with considerable ambition. In Evolution, Literature, and Film (2010, Columbia University Press) Brian Boyd, Joseph Carroll, and Jonathan Gottschall write “We believe that evolutionary theory promises the deepest, widest, and most reliable knowledge about humankind and all its works.” The approach regards cinematic works “as arising out of human nature—the evolved and adapted character of the human mind” (from the field’s new journal, Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture). Bringing insights from evolutionary sciences into the humanities offers a valuable range of tools for scholars seeking to understand how humans use stories. This panel seeks to bring these new perspectives to the exploration of film, TV, or other narrative media. Topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • Character behavior understood through an evolutionary lens.
  • Story structure as result of evolved cognitive features.
  • Film as medium to inspire deep motivation and rapid response.
  • Evo theory to explain features of the culture a story arose from.
  • Genres understood through evolutionary psychology.
  • Agonistic structure as adaptive social process on a cultural level.
  • Stories as medium for gene-culture co-evolution.
  • Fiction as preparation for a complex, modern reality.
  • Film and TV used to divide or unite us nationally and globally.

Please submit a title, an abstract (max. 2500 characters), a bio (max. 500 characters), and 3–5 bibliographic sources to by August 1. Do not hesitate to email if you have questions. Panelists will be notified by August 13. The conference is in Denver April 1—5.