15. The Dorothy Complex: Children and Migration in World Cinema
Professor Stephanie Hemelryk Donald
In this keynote lecture at the Welcoming Strangers conference, Stephanie Donald proposes that the child in cinema is a powerful fantasy figure, deployed to embody and aestheticise accelerated motion, sociopolitical displacement, and ontological transition, all of which conditions generate adult anxiety and fear. When the child leaves home, adult fear is both accentuated and brought to an exquisite peak of renewal and possibility. When the child migrates, that departure signals national and transnational impacts and affect. This lecture considers ways in which Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz is a template and a touchstone for narratives of child migrations and adult anxiety since 1939.
Professor Stephanie Hemelryk Donald (RMIT University, Melbourne and Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the Centre for World Cinema, University of Leeds)
Welcoming Strangers, an international interdisciplinary postgraduate conference, was held at Royal Holloway, University of London on 27 April 2012. Organised by Daniela Berghahn as part of a Fellowship awarded by the Humanities and Arts Research Centre (HARC) at Royal Holloway, together with an interdisciplinary team of postgraduate students, the event attracted PhD students from all over the UK, Spain, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.
Since the lifespan of the Welcoming Strangers conference website, where videos of conference presentations and other documents were hosted, was limited and the site was shut down at the end of 2012, at least the two keynote lectures have been preserved on the Far-flung Families website.
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