Catholicism in the Movies



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Paul Harvey

I'm gearing up, with great anticipation, for our next Young Scholars in American Religion meeting, April 2-5. Very regrettably, that meeting happens to coincide with a conference that sounds like too much fun: Catholics in the Movies, to be held at the Cushwa Center, Notre Dame, April 2-4. Here's a description, in case anyone living in/around South Bend doesn't know about it but might want to attend.

April 2-4, 2009. Catholics in the Movies. Cusha Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame.

Cinema is arguably the most understudied and potentially enlightening lens through which to examine the historical trajectories of Catholics in the United States over the previous century. This conference will explore how American Catholics produced, acted, viewed, boycotted, and were depicted in film. The starting point for the conference is the outstanding volume
Catholicim in the Movies (Oxford, 2008), to which the conference speakers contributed essays.

Register for the conference at www.nd.edu/~cushwa, or call (574) 631-6691. The program is below -- wish I could be there!

Catholics in the Movies
Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism

University of Notre Dame
April 2-4, 2009

“At the movies, Catholicism – rather than Protestantism – is the American religion.” Colleen McDannell

Focus
Cinema is arguably the most understudied and potentially enlightening lens through which to examine the historical trajectories of Catholics in the United States over the previous century. This conference will explore how American Catholics produced, acted, viewed, boycotted, and were depicted in film. The starting point for the conference is the outstanding volume Catholics in the Movies (Oxford, 2008), to which the conference speakers contributed essays.

Thursday, April 2
Film Screening (7:30 p.m.)
On the Waterfront
Discussion to follow with James T. Fisher, Fordham University

Friday, April 3
Session One (9:00 a.m.)
Race and Ethnicity

Moderator: Paula Kane, University of Pittsburgh

The Celluloid Melting Pot: Catholic Ethnicity on the Silent Screen
Judith Weisenfeld, Princeton University

The Catholic Singer: Ethnic Performance, American Dreams and Going My Way
Anthony Burke Smith, University of Dayton

Starting All Over Again: Mid-Century Catholics Confront Race
Jeffrey Marlett, College of St. Rose

Session Two (2:00 p.m.)
Masculinity

Moderator: Colleen McDannell, University of Utah

J. C. Superstar and the Streets of Dock City, 1938
Thomas J. Ferraro, Duke University

A Couple of Harps: True Confessions and the Brotherhood of Irish American Ethnicity Timothy Meagher, Catholic University of America

The Strong, Vulgar Type: Images of Masculinity in Dogma
Amy Frykholm, correspondent for The Christian Century

Film Screening (7:30 p.m.)
Santitos
Discussion to follow with María Amparo Escandón, novelist and screenwriter

Saturday, April 4
Session Three (9:00 a.m.)
Ritual and Devotion

Moderator: Jeffrey Marlett, College of St. Rose

The Production Code and the Production of Devotion in Wartime Hollywood
Paula Kane, University of Pittsburgh

Passage through the Borderlands: Transformation in the Devotional World of Santitos
Darryl Caterine, LeMoyne College

The Devotional Life of St. Mel: The Passion of the Christ
Colleen McDannell, University of Utah

Session Four (2:00 p.m.)
Film and American Catholicism
Moderator: Thomas J. Ferraro, Duke University

Playing Catholics: Who’s Zooming Who?
Tracy Fessenden, Arizona State University

The Spiritual Front in Postwar American Film
James T. Fisher, Fordham University

Catholic Crime Stories
Carlo Rotella, Boston College
Cover image: Courtesy Oxford University Press

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