The 22nd Annual Society for Animation Studies Conference

Michael Dow

It’s Raining Coyotes: Death and/in the Chase
(preconstituted panel: At Death’s Insistence: Theorising Animation and Death)

Abstract: In surveying a number of American cartoons during the post-World War II era, this paper seeks to demonstrate the ways in which popular animation engages in an aporetical uncertainty, focusing primarily on the investiture of sapience into the cartoon character, the existential connotations of the chase, and the “death confrontation” signified by the blackout gag. The motifs of acknowledgment and “deceleration” in the cartoons of the era will be addressed: how does this phenomenology of the personified form produce this effect? How is the acknowledgment of a “life/death” state enacted, and what are its implications for post-World War II culture?

Biographical statement:
Michael Vincent Dow is currently completing his dissertation, “The Death of the Chase: The Social Psychology of the Post-World War II American Animated Cartoon” at New York University. He teaches film and animation studies at Northeastern University in Boston.
His paper is an extension of his dissertation, which focuses on American cartoons as reflection of the postwar social condition.