Movies about college have been a staple of American cinema since the silent era. Films like Harold Lloyd’s The Freshman and Buster Keaton’s Collegeengaged popular ideas about the culture of campus life as it evolved throughout the 1920s, while also setting precedents for future cinematic representations of the college experience. Benchmark films of the genre such as The Paper Chase, Animal House, and The Social Network provide insight into the ways that college has been variously imagined as a middle class rite of passage, a landscape of hedonistic fantasy, a microcosm of societal hypocrisy, a repressive system of deindividuation, and a carnivalesque holiday from “real life,” to name just a few of the most conspicuous themes. At the same time, even the most jejune examples of the college movie genre reveal ideological assumptions and communicate influential messages about the role of knowledge, learning, and intellectualism in society.
We are currently accepting chapter proposals for an edited volume devoted to the representation of college and campus life in movies. While we hope to include a wide range of perspectives in the book, we are particularly interested in scholarship that examines the relationship between the cinematic representations of campus life and the lived experience of real college students. To what extent do these cinematic representations inform the expectations, perceptions, and attitudes of students, faculty, and the general public? Overviews of prevailing trends as well as close analyses of individual films are both welcome, as are examinations of the manner in which college films have addressed issues such as race, class, gender, technology, sexuality, disability, and cultural difference.