Engaging the Woman Fantastic in Contemporary American Media Culture
Full name / name of organization:
Elyce Rae Helford (senior editor), Mick Howard, Sarah Gray-Panesi, Shiloh Carroll / Middle Tennessee State University
The past thirty years have offered a growing and changing body of scholarship on images of fantastic women in American popular culture. Collections from Marleen Barr’s Future Females (1981) and Future Females: The Next Generation (2000) to Elyce Rae Helford’s Fantasy Girls: Gender and the New Universe of Science Fiction and Fantasy Television (2000) and Sherrie Inness’s Action Chicks: New Images of Tough Women in Popular Culture (2004) have offered multifaceted commentary on ways in which contemporary media culture posits and positions “empowered” women in speculative fictions. Engaging the Woman Fantastic in Contemporary Media Culture takes part in this tradition and brings it to the present day with emphasis on texts from the 1990s to the present and media from young adult fiction to social networks. In particular, this edited scholarly collection, to be published in 2014 by Cambridge Scholars Press, engages with female protagonists, antagonists, and characters that challenge such simple binaries in popular literature, television, comics, videogames, and other new media. As a whole, the volume will examine how images of fantastic women address prevailing ideas of gender, race, sexuality, class, nation, and other facets of identity in contemporary American culture.
We welcome proposals on all aspects of the “Woman Fantastic” within an imaginative fictional context and originating or retaining special media resonance from the mid-1990s to the present. Submissions should be grounded in a particular critical or theoretical perspective and center on a single text and/or character. We especially seek manuscripts within the following categories:
- Media: social networks and internet culture (e.g. Tumblr’s Eschergirls, Twitter’s Feminist Hulk, webcomics)
- Approaches: postcolonial, queer, disability, fandom
- Focus: images of women of color and/or queer women in any medium other than film
Note: We do not seek submissions on film, non-American texts, or DC comics. Also, because we are most interested in publishing studies of texts that have not been written about extensively elsewhere (e.g. the Harry Potter novels), be sure to offer a unique focus or new angle if you write on academically popular texts.
To submit, send a two-page proposal with working bibliography and brief vita (as a single .doc or .rtf attachment) to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 1, 2013. Complete, polished manuscripts are due by January 30, 2014. Queries are welcome. Acceptance will be handled on a rolling basis.