CFP: Time Travel in the Media edited collection


We are currently seeking chapter proposals for the first collection of essay to address time travel across different media formats. The collection, to be be published by McFarland, will be edited by Joan Ormrod (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Matthew Jones (UCL).

Time travel has been a topic that has fascinated the media since the 19th century. Indeed, cinema has used flashbacks and montage since its earliest days to experiment with time. However, film is not the only medium fascinated by the concept. Television series such as Doctor Who (1963-1989, 1996 and 2005-present), Quantum Leap (1989-1993), The Time Tunnel (1966-1967) and Torchwood (2006-2011) explore history and play with notions of time as a social construct. Video games, manga and animé also examine time travel’s unique narrative possibilities, for instance in The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time (1998) or Final Fantasy XIII-2 (2011). Graphic novels such as Watchmen (1986-1987) and superhero narratives use time travel to explore heroes’ ingenuity and the problems created by paradoxes.

Time travel narratives have invoked socio-historic concerns for subjectivity, narrativity, history, the future and potential apocalypse. The future and the past are frequently depicted as a means of understanding the problems of the present. Lately, time travel narratives have used philosophical issues based on scientific theories such as string theory, multiple universes and the philosophical construction of time. Contemporary time travel stories also acknowledge the potential for experimentation in media narratives. Such diversity surely requires more scrutiny in academic discourse. This collection of essays will be the first dedicated solely to the topic.

The collection is aimed at:

• undergraduate and postgraduate students in film and media, cultural studies, philosophy, social sciences, history and science programmes.

• science fiction and fantasy fandoms across a range of media.

The volume will address a broad range of media, including television, cinema, video games, anime and manga, comics and graphic novels and radio plays. It will be divided into five sections addressing narrative and media form, time travel as genre, philosophical and theoretical concepts, time and culture and a number of case studies

We are currently inviting 500-word proposals for 5000-7000 word chapters. These might address, but need not be limited to, the following topics:

• Adaptation and the differences between time in media forms
• Parallel worlds/alternative realities in virtual media, gaming and avatars
• Narrative devices such as the causal time loop
• Cinematic and media apparatus as time machine
• Experimental and avant garde depictions of time and time travel
• Narrative tropes
• Key characters – H. G. Wells, The Doctor, Sam Becket, Marty McFly
• Iconography – the time travel machine, distinguishing the past/future from the present
• The adaptability of the time travel narrative to many genres – science fiction, fantasy, romance, teenpics
• The depiction of history and historical characters
• The rules and regulations of time travel and parallel worlds
• The experience and means of time travel (machine, magic, supernatural)
• Use of specific theoretical models of narrative interrogation, such as psychoanalytic, carnivalesque, discursive, Deleuzian, Ricoeur, Bergson, postmodern and semiotic perspectives or new theoretical contexts
• Philosophical considerations, such as free will and determinism, religious and ritualistic perspectives
• String theory and parallel universes
• Socio-historic notions of time (linear time, cyclical time, the Enlightenment and the mythic)
• Tourism – cosmopolitanism, the flâneur
• Time-travel narratives within the context of their socio-historic production
• Case studies which examine a specific aspect of time travel in one text.

Proposals along with a 50 word biography should be sent to

Deadline: 16 June 2013


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