Call for Papers: “Film, public diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli conflict: Historical and international perspectives” Conference

16-18 October 2018, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA


  • Professor Tony Shaw, University of Hertfordshire, UK (
  • Professor Nicholas Cull, University of Southern California, and President of the International Association for Media and History
  • Dr Giora Goodman, Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee, Israel

An international conference on “Film, public diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli conflict: Historical and international perspectives” will be hosted by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA on 16-18 October 2018. The conference is supported by the University of Hertfordshire in the UK, Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee in Israel, the International Association for Media and History (IAMHIST), and at USC the Center on Public Diplomacy and Center for International Studies.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is seventy years old in 2018. Over the decades, a great many scholars and journalists have looked into the role that the news media have played in the conflict. By comparison, relatively few scholars have explored the part played by cinema. This conference focuses not only on film’s part in the Arab-Israeli conflict but also on how film has interacted with public diplomacy and propaganda. The conference aims to go far beyond the examination of particular feature films and documentaries – though that is an essential dimension. It seeks to look “behind the scenes” to examine how governments and groups have used film as a publicity tool; to assess the role that actors, producers, agents and directors have played in the conflict both on and off the screen; and to consider cinema’s political and cultural impact on the conflict.

Hollywood is obviously an important part of this story, and by holding the conference in Los Angeles we hope to involve contemporary filmmakers, diplomats and lobby organizations based in the city that are engaged in a variety of ways in the Arab-Israeli conflict. But the conference will look at how cinemas from different parts of the world have treated the Arab-Israeli conflict. This will enable comparative analysis and point to the part played by film in the international “war of images” that has surrounded the Arab-Israeli conflict since its inception.

Our approach is interdisciplinary, and we welcome proposals for papers from scholars of all fields, including History, Middle East studies, Israel studies, Public Diplomacy and Propaganda studies, International Affairs, Film studies, Literature, and the Social Sciences. Possible topics for panels and papers include but are not limited to:

  • Key feature films and documentaries about the Arab-Israeli conflict
  • Cinema’s direct and oblique treatments of the conflict
  • National film industries’ different takes on the conflict
  • Film activism
  • Film celebrity off-screen activism
  • Film as a public diplomacy and propaganda tool
  • Cinema and censorship/boycotts
  • Film and issues of image and Nation Brands

The working language of the conference will be English. We welcome individual proposals for 20-minute presentations, as well as 90-minute panels. Proposals for individual presentations should not exceed 300 words, while those for panels should be a maximum of 1000 words. All contributors should include a brief (250-300 word) autobiographical paragraph and the contributor’s academic affiliation and email. All of this should be sent to Professor Tony Shaw at

Deadline for abstracts: 30 June 2018.

Notification of acceptance: 31 July 2018.

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