Archive for the ‘Publications’ Category

Call for Chapters: Jessica Jones edited collection

July 12, 2016


Netflix’s Original Series Jessica Jones, released December 2015, has received roaring critical acclaim and has established a monumental fan base. As both academics and fans of the series, we are intrigued by the amount of online and offline discussion that has arisen–especially among its many fans–on issues regarding gender and race politics, Netflix Original Series content, and feminism. Acknowledging and citing the series as a site of rich cultural content, we invite submissions for an edited collection based on Marvel’s Jessica Jones. In putting together this edited collection, our goal is to approach this from a variety of disciplinary lenses, touching upon media, fan, women, and gender studies.

Some questions we ask are: How does the representation of women’s bodies open up conversations of trauma and consent? Does Netflix original series content change the landscape of present and future television/small screen programming? How do fans engage with the series’ traumatic content?

Possible topics for submission include but are not limited to:

The political economy of Netflix productions and/or the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it relates to Jessica Jones
Politics of representation (gendered bodies, racialized bodies, rape, PTSD)
Representations of rape, assault, and gender-based violence
Consent culture
Audience reception and Jessica Jones fandom
Jessica Jones on social media

Submission Guidelines
Please submit in one (1) Word document (.doc/.docx) an abstract of approximately 200 words outlining your intended chapter. The abstract should clearly state a purpose or research question, methodology/theoretical framework, and (preliminary) results/conclusion. Please include a short (no longer than 100 words) biography of yourself and your contact information to: by August 1, 2016.

We will contact you once we review all submissions (mid-September) at which time, we will provide further details for the final papers (Due December 15, 2016).

If you have any questions, you can contact us at


Priya Rehal, York & Ryerson Universities
Jessica Bay, York & Ryerson Universities
Mary Grace Lao, York & Ryerson Universities

Transformative Works & Cultures journal, Special Issue CFP: Social TV Fandom and the Media Industries

June 21, 2016

Transformative Works & Cultures, Special Issue CFP: Social TV Fandom and the Media Industries

When Henry Jenkins calls the mid-2000s media landscape one of convergence culture, he describes the intersection of media industries, online social media, and television audiences. Using emerging multiplatform strategies producers can directly engage and immerse potential television audiences. Likewise, industry shaped hailing of fans creates fan-like audiences, but it does so within limits, reflecting industry concerns and agenda.

Nearly a decade later, both audiences and industry expect direct and continuous engagement between a series and its audience. Industry-instigated fandoms exist alongside and in conversation with fan-instigated community engagement. In particular, the rise of social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr have made multiplatforming both more efficient and more mainstream, meaning that now nearly every television show has an online presence that welcomes fan engagement. As this reality of “social television” matures, however, the connections it promises between producers, actors, and viewers are tested by each new platform, each controversial story development, and by the ever-present politics of power and identity that shape any and all interactions between industry and audience.

This special issue aims to put emerging research on social media platforms and ongoing work on online fan culture in conversation to consider the impact the proliferation of those platforms is having on our understanding of the consumption and negotiation of television in era of on-screen hashtags, cast livetweets, Periscope, and the new world of “Social TV.” Topics may include, but are not limited to:

* Case studies of industry/fan engagement for specific series or networks
* Discursive framings of Social TV fandom in trade/popular press
* Negotiations of good/bad fandom in industry discourse
* Industry-produced transmedia storytelling and emergent platforms
* Industry-affiliated fan activism through Social TV practices
* Social TV in a global/transnational industrial context
* Adoption of fan identities by industry professionals
* Linear vs. non-linear Social TV practices
* Industry cultivation of and management of Superfans

Submission guidelines

Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC, is an international peer-reviewed online Gold Open Access publication of the nonprofit Organization for Transformative Works copyrighted under a Creative Commons License. TWC aims to provide a publishing outlet that welcomes fan-related topics and to promote dialogue between the academic community and the fan community. TWC accommodates academic articles of varying scope as well as other forms that embrace the technical possibilities of the Web and test the limits of the genre of academic writing.

Theory: Conceptual essays. Peer review, 6,000–8,000 words.
Praxis: Case study essays. Peer review, 5,000–7,000 words.
Symposium: Short commentary. Editorial review, 1,500–2,500 words.

Please visit TWC’s Web site ( for complete submission guidelines, or e-mail the TWC Editor (editor AT

Contact—Contact guest editor Myles McNutt with any questions or inquiries at mmcnutt AT

Due date—March 1, 2017, for estimated March 2018 publication.

CFP: Audiences and Adaptation: Literature/Film Quarterly Special Issue (Abstract Deadline May 1, 2016)

April 11, 2016

In his essay “Adaptation and New Media,” Michael Ryan Moore reflects on the status of adaptation studies in the digital age, stating that with new media “adaptation becomes a strategy of participation. Rather than develop wholly new works, audiences take ownership over existing media, adapting the stories, shows, and films that they most identify with.” In this special issue of LFQ, we seek to explore the role of audiences in adaptation and the manner in which adaptation is a participatory process. How do audiences make meaning out of adapted properties? What is the role of memory or nostalgia in adaptation? How might transmedia storytelling ask audiences to interact with texts in new and exciting ways? How does fan culture complicate existing models of author/encoder and spectator/decoder?

Adaptation studies have long asked useful and engaging questions concerning the textual and authorial dimensions of adaptation processes, but has not as readily addressed the role of audiences in this equation. Nor has the field engaged fully with the rich and innovative work done in reception studies. For this issue of LFQ, we seek to put adaptation studies and reception studies in conversation.

We welcome work that explores the complex relationship between adaptation and audiences from a variety of disciplinary, critical, and historical perspectives. Possible areas of inquiry may include, but are not limited to:

•Amateur, unauthorized, “sweded,” or fan–produced adaptations
•Cosplay, role-playing, and –Con festivals
•Fan love and cinephilia for adapted properties
•Fan hatred or rejection of adapted properties
•Franchises, multi-platform, and transmedia storytelling
•Scholar-fandom and autoethnography
•Adaptation as a mode of reception/fandom
•Remaking, rebooting, and the “reclaimed” text
•Stardom and adaptation
•Adaptation to/from video games and other participatory formats
•Oppositional reading or queering adaptation
•Fan or slash fiction; exploration or extension of storyworlds
•Adaptation and affect, emotion, or sensation
•Adaptation and nostalgia/memory
•Paratexts and/as adaptations
•Merchandising and collecting
•Advertising and marketing of adaptations
•Censorship, rating systems, test audiences, and boycotts
•Kickstarter and crowd-sourced film adaptations
•Exhibition practices and distribution of adaptations

Please submit a 500-800 word abstract in MLA style to by May 1, 2016. Your abstract should outline your working thesis and briefly sketch the theoretical framework(s) within which your essay will be situated. If accepted, full articles of 5,000 to 6,500 words must be submitted by October 3, 2016. The Special Issue will run in October 2017 as part of LFQ’s new online open access format.

Please email LFQ Assistant Editor Andrew Scahill at with any questions.

CFP: Neo-peplum Films and Television 1990 to Present

April 9, 2016

Neo-peplum Films and Television 1990 to Present

After the success of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator in 2000, the sword-and-sandal genre of films was officially resurrected and has not seen such a prolific output since its heyday in Italy in the late 1950s and 1960s. This second wave of peplum films – or more specifically “neo-peplum” to reflect this distinctive contemporary cycle – has achieved unprecedented critical and commercial success, with big screen films such as 300 to ambitiously realized small screen fare such as Spartacus and Rome. Marginal, critically panned and box office bombs such as Gods of Egypt still make an impact, contributing to the canon of films. With an upcoming remake of Ben-Hur on the horizon, films set in ancient Greek and Roman times, based on their mythologies or featuring gladiatorial combat or large centurion armies, are certainly in demand to theater-goers and Netflix binge watchers.
With such films enjoying popularity, it invites an academic gaze to unearth their cinematic importance beyond simple movie watching consumption. These films and television shows are definitely important: are they a reflection of our times? With our high tech lives, what is the fascination with depictions of the ancient world? With body and gender dialogue more open, what does this say about films that have a strong emphasis on the herculean male or Amazonian female?
This anthology is looking for essays that aim to explore this neo-peplum cycle of films that shares commonality to the original Italian films and Hollywood historic epics. The original peplum cycle of films began with Hercules in 1958, so it is appropriate to say the neo-peplum cycle begins anew with the Hercules character in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys of the 1990s. This anthology seeks to solidify the neo-peplum genre as a distinct term and re-appropriate it to specifically refer to sword-and-sandal films and television shows made after 1990 and evaluate these entries in a variety of interdisciplinary lenses and frameworks.

Potential Essay Topics
A list of possible (but not comprehensive) topics and themes that contributors could submit on:
Anti-Peplum – exploring change in tone from adventure and action to more dramatic and gritty stories
Portrayal of women from vamps and damsels in the original peplum cycle to Xena-inspired characters in the present cycle (Xena, The Arena)
General Masculinity/Femininity portrayal
Compare/contrast original Italian cycle with present cycle
Compare/contrast original stories/characters with remakes (Hercules remakes, Clash of Titans remake)
Close reading at source material and how neo-peplum films interpret them
Neo-peplums as allegory for present day politics
Peplums for young adults (Gods of Egypt)
Neo-peplums combining with other genres – such as sci-fi (John Carter) or disaster film (Pompeii)
Ancient worlds portrayed in “hyper-realistic” fashion
Mono-myth and neo-peplum characters
Auteur theory and neo-peplum directors (Timur Bekmambetov and The Arena)
Pastiche, parody, subversion (Hail, Caesar!, Meet the Spartans)
Representations of race, white-washing
Fans, fandom and fan cultures of neo-peplum series (Hercules, Xena, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson)
Shakespeare, tragedy (Titus)

Authors are encouraged to submit more than one abstract. If you have multiple great ideas for potential essay chapters, feel free to submit each one. I will assemble the most cohesive arrangement of essays that will provide the most well-rounded discussion of neo-peplum films.

Films and Television Series
Below is a list of potential films and television series post 1990 that could potentially fit into the neo-peplum formula. This list is by no means complete, but it is presented to give examples of the types of films/TV shows that fit within this genre and to inspire creative ideas for the films to write about. Not all neo-peplum films deal directly with ancient Greece or Rome, as some of the aesthetics and styles are being used for Egyptian, Viking and barbarian themed films as well. This list is only a guide; other films and TV shows that are neo-peplum-like will certainly be entertained for this book.
300 (2007), 300: Rise of an Empire (2014), Agora (2009), Alexander (2004), The Arena (2001), Centurion (2010), Clash of the Titans (2010), The Eagle (2011), Gladiator (2000), Gods of Egypt (2016), Hail, Caesar! (2016), Hercules (1997), Hercules (2014), Immortals (2011), John Carter (2012), The Last Legion (2007), Meet the Spartans (2008), Pompeii (2014), Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (2010), The Scorpion King (2002) and its sequels, Titus (1999), Troy (2004), Wrath of the Titans (2012)
Television Series
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995-1999), Rome (2005-2007), Spartacus (2010–2013), Vikings (2013-present), Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001), Young Hercules (1998-1999)

Publication Timetable
Below follows a generous timetable at essay composition, editing and submitting:
June 30, 2016 – Deadline for abstract submissions
July 10, 2016 – Notification of acceptance, distribution of style guide
December 4, 2016 – Chapter drafts are due
April 29, 2017 – Chapter revisions due
May 31, 2017 – Submission of manuscript to the publisher
Drafts and revisions are strongly encouraged to be submitted before the deadlines. The essays will follow Chicago style citations. The style guide when disseminated will round out the essay specifications.

Abstract Submission Instructions
Please submit your abstract(s) of roughly 500 words along with your academic CV/resume and preliminary bibliography to the email address below before June 30th. Please use an appropriate subject line when submitting – have it contain the phrase “neo-peplum submission.” I will confirm each submission via email within 48 hours.
Essayists will receive a contributor’s copy of the book when it is published.

Nicholas Diak, editor

Nicholas Diak is an independent pop culture scholar residing in southern California. He has a strong interest in neofolk and post-industrial music, exploitation cinema, Italian genre films and H.P. Lovecraft. He has contributed to the book James Bond and Popular Culture: Essays on the Influence of the Fictional Superspy (McFarland, 2014) and has an essay appearing in an upcoming anthology on space-horror films. He is a frequent presenter at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Conference, a contributor to the website Heathen Harvest and a member of the H.P. Lovecast Podcast. He is also an academic member of the Horror Writers Association and National Coalition of Independent Scholars.

#peplum #neo-peplum #spartacus #rome #300 #gladiator

CFP: Becoming: Essays on NBC’s Hannibal

March 30, 2016 and
Deadline for Abstracts: July 1, 2016
Deadline for Completed Essays: January 15, 2017

The NBC series Hannibal has garnered both critical and fan acclaim for its cinematic qualities, its complex characters, and its fascinating reworking of Thomas Harris’ mythology so well known from Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs (1991) and its variants. The television series concluded late in 2015 after three seasons and in spite of a great deal of fan support for its continuation on a premium network or through a paid service like Netflix.

Hannibal builds on the serial killer narratives of popular procedurals, while taking them in a drastically different direction. Like critically acclaimed series such as Breaking Bad and The Sopranos, it makes its viewers complicit in the actions of a deeply problematic individual, and, in the case of Hannibal, forces them to confront that complicity through the character of Will Graham. As both an extension of and divergence from these trends, Hannibal is also worth exploring in its own right as a simultaneously stunning and grotesque exploration of the darkest depths of the human psyche. Also of interest is Hannibal creator Bryan Fuller’s easy relationship with fans, in contrast to other showrunners (Supernatural, Game of Thrones) who often clash with fans over directorial and interpretive choices.

We are soliciting essays for an edited collection and are presently in negotiation with a university press for publication in late 2017 or early 2018. Please send a 300-word abstract and brief biography to and before July 1, 2016. Completed essays of 6,000-6,500 words will be due on January 15, 2017.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:
● The grotesque and the monstrous
● Transformations/metamorphosis
● The enduring appeal of Hannibal Lecter
● Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham as dual protagonists
● The seductive nature of evil/Hannibal as a Vice figure
● The viewer as voyeur or accomplice
● Queer motifs and readings
● Female characters (including those whose gender was changed from the novels)
● Horror/Gothic elements
● Visual aesthetics of violence/gore/murder
● Cannibalism
● Depictions of food/foodie culture
● Similarities and differences from Harris’ novels and previous adaptations
● Hannibal’s use of art, literature, and musical referents
● Depictions of mental illness and disability
● Serial killers in popular media
● Visual and narrative motifs of Hannibal
● Bryan Fuller’s relationship with the “fannibals,” fans of the show

New issue of Transformative Works and Culture journal published: Special issue on The Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work

March 16, 2016

The following new issue of Transformative Works and Cultures has been published:

Vol 21 (2016)
The Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work, edited by Ika Willis (University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)

Full issue available here:

Table of Contents
The classical canon and/as transformative work
Ika Willis

Classical monsters in new Doctor Who fan fiction
Amanda Potter

Amateur mythographies
Ika Willis

Versions of Homer: Translation, fan fiction, and other transformative rewriting
Shannon K. Farley

Abusing text in the Roman and contemporary worlds
Francesca Middleton

Fan fiction, early Greece, and the historicity of canon
Ahuvia Kahane

Virgilian fandom in the Renaissance
Balaka Basu

The role of affect in fan fiction
Anna Wilson

Are fan fiction and mythology really the same?
Tony Keen

Shipping in Plato’s Symposium
Juliette Grace Harrisson

Oresteia as transformative work
Tisha Turk

Fandom at the crossroads and Fangasm!, by Lynn Zubernis and Kathy Larsen
Judith May Fathallah

Fan CULTure: Essays on participatory fandom in the 21st century, edited by Kristin M. Barton and Jonathan Malcolm Lampley
Bertha Chin

Call for Abstracts: ‘Exploring Teen Wolf’ collection

March 14, 2016

Looking for papers for an essay collection on the MTV television show Teen Wolf, with an emphasis on the most recent seasons. This volume aims to discuss Teen Wolf in the context of popular and literary culture, historical analysis, and academic theory, though other approaches are also welcome.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
– Monstrosity and/or Hybridity
– Fandom
– Adolescence
– Personal Transformation
– Genre Transformation and/or Subversion
– Gender
– Race
– Heroism and/or Villainy
– History and Memory
– Power

We are also interested in the intersections of Teen Wolf with:
– the werewolf in literary history
– current media and pop culture
– fairy tales and/or folk mythology
– horror tropes
– the werewolf in other television shows (True Blood, Doctor Who, Sanctuary, Grimm)

What to Send:
300 – 500 word abstracts (or complete articles, if available) and CVs should be submitted by April 1, 2016. If an abstract is accepted for the collection, a full draft of the essay (5000 – 8000 words) will be required by July 1, 2016.

Abstracts and final articles should be submitted to both and Please include “Teen Wolf Submission” in your subject line.

Call for Submissions: Shipping and Fandoms collection

March 12, 2016

Shipping and Fandoms

Literature revolves around relationships. These may include not only relationships between authors and their readers, but also ones among readers themselves; and they may also include not only relationships between fictional characters within a work, but also potential relationships between characters that are not explicitly delineated within the text itself.

We invite chapter proposals for a volume on the phenomenon of “shipping”—whereby readers create fan fiction or other fan-generated material that brings fictional characters together into imagined relationships (sexual, amorous, or otherwise).

The volume will consist of two parts, with the chapters in Part I being issue-driven (e.g., shipping and desire, shipping and animus, shipping and canons, shipping and perversity), and the chapters in Part II focusing on individual case studies (featuring examples from a variety of different genres, languages/cultures, and historical periods). Innovative and experimental approaches are encouraged.

Although individual chapters will each have a lead author (or authors), the volume as a whole will be collaboratively authored—both to ensure a uniform tone, but also in acknowledgement of the fundamentally dialogic nature of fan fiction itself. That is to say, the editorial team expects to work closely with each contributor on issues of structure, style, and content.

Please e-mail 300-word chapter proposals, together with your full contact information and a short biographical statement, to Carlos, Clare, and Eileen at by April 15, 2016. The editors will review proposals by the end of April. If the proposal is accepted for inclusion in the volume, a draft of the complete chapter should be completed and submitted to the editors by August 1, 2016. Chapters should around 6,000 words in length, must be original work, and not be under review or accepted for publication elsewhere.

Editorial Team:
Clare Woods, Associate Professor of Classical Studies, Duke University
Carlos Rojas, Associate Professor of Chinese Cultural Studies, Duke University
Eileen Chow, Visiting Associate Professor of Chinese and Japanese Cultural Studies, Duke University

CFP: Eating the Rude: Hannibal Lecter and the Fannibals, Criminals, and Legacy of America’s Favorite Cannibal

February 8, 2016

Call for Papers

Eating the Rude: Hannibal Lecter and the Fannibals, Criminals, and Legacy of America’s Favorite Cannibal


Editors: Kyle Moody, Ph.D. and Nicholas Yanes, Ph.D.
Publisher: McFarland Press

Deadline for Abstracts: March 18, 2016

Description of the Book:

When Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon was released in 1981, the literary community quickly became enraptured by its cannibal antagonist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Popular interest in “Hannibal the Cannibal” would only increase with the release of 1988’s The Silence of the Lambs and the 1991 movie adaptation starring Anthony Hopkins as Lecter. After several sequels were produced live action adaptations of Harris’ Hannibal books were stopped until 2013, when NBC took a chance and approved of a Hannibal Lecter TV series to be created by Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller.

Loosely defined as a prequel, the series Hannibal focused on Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s relationship with FBI Special Investigator Will Graham. With unique visualizations, off-kilter music, character reimaginings that changed race and gender, food culture, and several story arcs that addressed LGBTQ themes in a specific and idiosyncratic manner, Hannibal was a critically acclaimed show that is begging to be analyzed by scholars of all types.

Expectations for Proposals and Essays:
Ideal proposals focusing on any aspect of Hannibal texts from any period will contain a clear thesis, an abstract which is two to three paragraphs long and a list of potential sources. Essays need to be MLA formatted – parenthetical citations, not footnotes. And it is up to the author(s) to get permission to reprint copyrighted material. Though this should go without saying, we will not accept work that is plagiarized or that has been published elsewhere.

Proposed Topics:

1. Challenging the Canonical – Adaptation, Interpretation, and Re-Imaginings: Producing Hannibal, Race and Gender Bending

From adapting the books for television in the shadow of a movie franchise, to the multiple gender and race changes in the series, Hannibal pushed the limits of what people expect from a show based on a book series. Essays on this topic will examine issues of adaptation, interpretation, and re-imagining in the context of Hannibal.

2. Food for Thought for a Cannibal: The Food Culture of Hannibal

Focusing on a cannibal, a primary focus of the show was the presentation of food – whether it was human meat or not. With a sophisticated approach to food, Hannibal provides a fascinating presentation of food culture. Essays on this topic will look use food studies to examine Hannibal’s approach to cooking and his perspective of humans as food.

3. LGBTQ: The Depiction of the Queer in Hannibal’s World

In addition to characters being re-imagined as a different sexual orientation, the show’s two main male characters develop a relationship that evolves from heterosexual to possibly homosexual. As such, essays on this topic would examine the Hannibal/Will dynamic and their ancillary relationships in terms of Queer theory/analysis.

4. Diagnosing a Killer in a Lethal World – What is Hannibal and the other Killers

Unlike many shows centered on serial killers, Hannibal is deeply committed to a psychological deconstruction of Hannibal and all of the other killers that appear in the show. Other programs illustrate binary models of good and evil, but Hannibal illustrates its characters with an empathetic model that allows the audience to see inside of the character. What’s more, almost every brutal action on the show that is performed by a killer is seen in flashback as being performed by Will Graham, which illustrates both his tenuous grasp on sanity and the real horror of the actions taking place. Essays will discuss how this work shifts the paradigm of most shows focused around serial killer violence, which in turn showcases how Hannibal was a show that didn’t focus on justice but rather a psychological lack.

Hannibal also has a wide variety of imaginative killers. Essays on these characters will examine their literary and real world inspirations, while also discussing their symbolic role in the show as extensions of the main characters.

5. Fannibals – Hannibal’s Hungry Fan culture

The fans of Hannibal were unlike the core market for Harris’s novels and previous adaptations due to the proliferation of social media during the production and dissemination of Fuller’s vision. From 2013 to 2015, Hannibal’s core fanbase was heavily involved in remediating texts. Fuller and his writing team would also pay attention to the fan reactions to the show, and would also engage with them on social media.

Essays on this topic will examine Hannibal’s fandom and its relationship to the show, along with differences from fandom surrounding previous texts and adaptations.

6. Sights and Sounds of Hannibal’s dream world – the Fashion and Styles in Hannibal

The initial reaction to Hannibal as a serialized television program could be best described as lackluster because it was expected that the show would likely fall into the broadcast, wide-ranging CSI model. However, the show quickly illustrated a preference for the psychological aspects of serial killers and mentally ill psychopaths, and nowhere was this more explicit than the beautiful dreamscapes created by the production designers. Each venture into the hallucinogenic dreamscapes provided a window into the minds of the killers, as well as the greater damage that his empathy with murderers had on Will Graham’s mind. Essays on this topic will examine how the series was visualized, both in terms of episodic considerations and series-long visual conventions.

Additionally, the sartorial choices on Hannibal were unique considering the network model. The show illustrated Hannibal the character as a perfectly composed beast, right down to his clothing choices and immaculate presentation. When the show trekked to Europe for the beginning of its third season, the lush presentation was reflected in the clothing choices of its characters to show their evolution. For example, Dr. Alana Bloom evolved from wearing more appropriate federal government apparel to clothes that approximated the cold glamour of Hannibal Lecter. Essays on these topics will examine Hannibal’s world building in terms of character design, set design, storytelling, visual motifs, and other forms of universe creation.

7. Your Own Brilliant Idea?

If you have an idea for this collection that we haven’t suggested, feel free to send it to us for feedback. We are always open to new ideas.

Contact Information:

For more specific information for proposed topics please contact the editors at:

Author Information:
Kyle Moody
Assistant Professor of Communications Media
Fitchburg State University

Nicholas Yanes, PhD

CFP: Sex, Subversion and Bodily Boundaries: The Darker Side of Slash Fan Fiction

January 14, 2016

Sex, Subversion and Bodily Boundaries: The Darker Side of Slash Fan Fiction

Proposals are invited for essays exploring the depiction of (and engagement with) non-normative eroticism within online slash and femslash fan fiction – primarily work which is generated from media including but not limited to: role-playing video games, webcomics, TV episodes and series, comics and graphic novels, novels and short stories, and films. Proposals are also welcome for essays exploring the unique deictic nature of slash fan fiction as an ongoing dialogue between canon, text and audience. Particular interest will be given to papers exploring how digital accessibility has contributed to its popularity as a genre, and the cultural impacts generated by the popularity of made-to-order fan fiction commissions, such as kinkmemes, Shipping Olympics, Kink Bingo, fic requests etc.

Following the publication of Hellekson and Busse’s groundbreaking edited collection Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet (2006), academic interest in slash fiction has continued to document the evolution and development of the genre as a whole. It is generally proposed that slash fiction enjoys a simultaneous intertextual function – partly a subversive cultural dialogue and partly an unapologetically playful approach to literary convention – but a function which is ultimately more complex and nuanced than a traditional incorporation/resistance paradigm would suggest.

A particularly popular theory implies that slash fiction functions primarily as a displaced form of idealised sexual fantasy. That is, one in which even explicit sexual content and a subversion of non-normative gender, power and desire paradigms must be metaphorically understood as a desire for an egalitarian form of romance: a love between equals, free from the restrictions of hierarchical gender roles. However, academic exploration of more explicitly unlovely slash fiction – works which do not adhere as neatly to the idealised egalitarian romance theory, but still retain the same popularity as their more salubrious counterparts – is limited.

This collection aims to engage directly and explicitly with some of slash fiction’s less gentle aspects in order to explore the following question: in a text which not only deliberately creates but maintains unstable, unequal and ungentle paradigms, can the same critical frameworks that depict slash fiction as a valorised form of egalitarian romance still be applied? If a text refuses to moving towards the gradual equality and intimacy inherent within Romantic convention, can the ending only be an unhappy one?

This collection of essays aims to supplement existing fan academia with a small insight into what is an underrepresented but no less prolific or popular facet of slash fiction. With this is mind, proposals are invited for essays of c.7000 words exploring the following in erotic slash fiction:

· The exploration, portrayal and reception of BDSM encounters and relationships.

· The portrayal of cisgender characters which challenge heteronormative patterns of behaviour, either by non-compliance or by excessive performativity. Particular interest in the dynamics generated by two ‘butch’ characters in sexual scenes and how violence is used to regulate and code ‘unacceptable’ behaviours and desires.

· Xenofetishism and the treatment of alternative bodily configurations such as external breeding, A/B/O dynamics, hermaphroditic characters in slash fiction.

· Fame and infamy within fan writing; the perks and perils of having a reputation for pushing the boundaries.

· The treatment of trans* characters, non-binary gender, genderqueer and genderfluid characters in overtly sexual situations – both in canon and in fan texts.

· The portrayal of abusive behaviours, rape scenes and toxic relationships and the appeal of the themes.

· The extent to which consent is coded and established (or not) within dub-con texts.

· The treatment of and audience response to taboo relationships – incest, guardian/ward, underage characters and exploited characters.

· Discussions and debates within fan communities regarding explicitly non-normative sexuality within slash fiction as a whole, particularly in regard to participation in kinkmemes, Shipping Olympics, Kink Bingo, fic requests etc.

· Non-monogamy and non-monogamous characters and relationships, non-normative femininity/masculinity and any explorations thereof.

These lists are far from complete and should be taken only as a starting point, rather than definitive.
Generally speaking, texts under discussion should have been produced, published and released within the last twenty years, although if a text beyond this timeframe is particularly significant this can be discussed – please do get in touch with your ideas.
Once selected, the table of contents and abstracts will be submitted to McFarland and Co. Publishing, who have expressed an interest. Final inclusion in the published volume will be subject to peer review.

Please send proposals of 500 words plus a short biography to by 11th March 2016.