Primer to NeMLA 2016: “Ruined!” and Failed Screen Adaptations

The Northeast Modern Language Association will host the session “‘Ruined!’: On Failed Adaptations from Page to Screen” on Sunday, March 20, at 10:15 AM in Conference Room 5 of the Marriott Downtown Hartford. This session is co-organized by Emily Lauer, SUNY Suffolk County Community College, and me. We are thankful for the support of the Area directors of the NeMLA Board for American Studies and Cultural and Media Studies.

“Ruined!” took inspiration from another NeMLA session, “Queer/Geek: Theorizing the Convergence of Fandom, Camp, and Other Deviances.” Emily and I were in the audience, fascinated by discussions about considering adaptation for increased representation of sexuality in fan cultures. That Sunday of the convention, during the annual membership brunch, Emily came up with a topic moving in a different direction: if those are cases of what makes adaptations work, what makes adaptations fail? For this session on failed adaptations from text to screen and invited me to collaborate.

Adaptations have been on my mind the last year, based on research and presentations on adaptations and translations from one medium or location to another, as with interpretations I’ve made regarding “scanlations” of comics from Japanese into English, or other NeMLA sessions on the adaptation of Marvel Comics to film. Therefore, I am interested to hear the ideas presented by our panelists. I am grateful to Emily for letting me join this discussion, and I am happy with the set of presentations we chose for this session.

The presentations for “Ruined!” include:

“The Inhuman Eye: Genre Loss in the Film Version of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas
Jason Schneiderman, Borough of Manhattan Community College-CUNY

“The (im)possibility of Transposing Magic Realism to the Big Screen”
Laura Hatry, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Fresh Off the Boat: Meeting Whose Expectations?”
Jiahong Wang, Pittsburg State University

“HOWLing Gay Rights at the Millennials”
Susan Crutchfield, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse




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