Thursday, March 08, 2012

CFPs: Monsters, MLA, and The Marginalised Mainstream

The Marginalised Mainstream

8–9 November 2012, Senate House, University of London
Eric Ambler once argued, ‘Thrillers really say more about the way people think and governments behave than many of the conventional novels … A hundred years from now, if they last, these books may offer some clues to what was going on in our world’. Theoricists and practitioners of other popular mediums would argue that this statement can easily be transferred to other areas. Gene Rodenberry has frequently argued that Star Trek offered him a platform upon which he was able to address burning social issues as he could do in no other medium. Will Wright suggests that Westerns offer a landscape through which to investigate the narrative dimension of myth; while Tania Modleski claims romance novels ‘speak to the very real problems and tensions in women’s lives’; and Kate MacDonald argues that early twentieth-century spy and adventure fiction reflected ‘broader social and cultural processes which shaped and reflected masculinity in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain’. Such genres are rich in ‘cultural capital’, yet are routinely overlooked or considered mere diversionary, a distraction from the long list of what we should ‘really’ be studying.

The conference seeks to assert the academic importance of investigating the mainstream and wider cultural traditions, from cult followings (such as that of Rocky Horror and the works of Buster Keaton) to periodicalised ‘tales of terror’, from the regency romances of Georgette Heyer to the satirical wit of P.G. Wodehouse, from radio mystery theatre and musical revue to spy-fi and sci-fi, from food writing to fashion. We are not only seeking papers that offer a rigorous engagement with questions of marketplace, but that seek to explore the frequently overlooked.

We are especially interested in providing a space to discuss these under-valued and under-researched areas of the mainstream, in and of their own right. However, we do also encourage papers that investigate why and how culturally significant forms of popular fiction have been subject to critical marginalisation.
The deadline for submitting a proposal is 1 June 2012. More details can be found here.

This proposed edited collection addresses the persistent paradoxical repulsion and fascination with monsters and the monstrous, their genesis, and their reproductive potential across different time periods and cultural contexts. With the “birth” of the monster comes a particular anxiety about its self-replication, generally through perceived “unnatural” means. While the incarnation of the monster manifests through different vehicles across time periods, it is clear that, regardless of its form, anxiety is rooted in concerns over its fecundity—its ability to infect, to absorb, to replicate. This interdisciplinary book project aims to incorporate essays from various scholars across multiple disciplines. The “birth” of tomorrow’s monster reveals the inherent threat to temporality and progeny; reproduction of the “monstrous,” as well as monstrous reproductions, threaten to eclipse the future, cast uncertainty on the present, and re-imagine the past.
We encourage scholarly contributions from multidisciplinary perspectives. We will entertain submissions in literature, medical/political/social history, film, television, graphic novels and manga. Topics may include but are not limited to:
  • Historical medical discourses about “monstrous” reproduction
  • Medieval monsters and the monstrosity of birth
  • Religious discourse of monstrous reproduction
  • Eugenics, social biology and inter-racial generation
  • Birth defects, deformity and “freaks”
  • Monstrous mothers, monstrous children
  • Monstrous regeneration
  • Rebirth and metamorphosis: Vampires, zombies, werewolves and mutants
  • Genetic engineering and “nightmare” reproductions
  • Science fiction and inter-species reproduction and colonization
  • Tabloid hoaxes and monster births
  • Birth in the dystopic narrative
  • Queering reproduction
Please send abstract proposals (350-500 word) with working title and brief biography listing any publications by email to Dr. Andrea Wood ( and Dr. Brandy Schillace ( by April 10th, 2012. Contributors will be asked to submit full papers for inclusion by July 16th, 2012.

Not Twilight: Female Sexuality and Identity in Recent Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy 

Dr.Maria Ramos has sent out a call for papers for a special session, Female Identity and Sexuality in Recent Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, at the 2013 Modern Languages Association Conference (to be held in Boston). According to Jayashree Kamble,
she is hoping to get several abstracts so she can put together a strong panel proposal. Dr. Ramos is the Head of the Department of Modern Languages at South Dakota State and has recently begun research on romance/urban fantasy/vampire fiction. 
Here's the text of the CFP:
Fantasy female characters' struggle with being a woman in the 21st Century attracts millions of readers. Why? Abstract 300-500 words by 15 March 2012; Maria Teresa Ramos-Garcia ( 

1 comment:

  1. The Marginalised Mainstream conference deadline has been extended until the 15th of June.