Proposals are invited for essays which explore non-normative representations of gender and sexuality in a range of contemporary popular fantasy, including, but not limited to: tv episodes and series, films, computer games and MMORPGs, novels and short stories, comics and graphic novels, role-playing games and fanfiction.
In creating a fantasy world anything is possible, therefore writers, artists, directors and producers of fantasy worlds must acknowledge a degree of responsibility for their world beyond that of other creators. Given that they can create a world and its inhabitants to be any way at all, why it is that a fantasy world is created -like this- is a valid question to ask.
This collection will consider the ways in which contemporary writers, artists, directors and producers use the opportunities offered by popular fantasy to exceed or challenge gender and sexuality norms. In contrast to many claims made about the fantasy genre being necessarily conservative/reactionary, this collection will explore the ways in which this genre can be and is being used to reflect on the contingency of our gender and sexuality norms.
With this in mind, proposals are invited for essays of c.7000 words exploring representations of the following in contemporary popular fantasy across all media and cultural formats:
Non-binary gender, genderqueer and genderfluid characters;
Cisgender women and men characters which challenge or do not conform to heteronormativity;
Non-monogamy and non-monogamous characters and relationships;
BDSM and alternative sexualities and sexual practices;
Intersections between gender and sexuality and race, class, dis/ability, mental health, and national and regional identities.
In addition to:
The work of LGBTQI or poly-identified writers, artists, directors, producers, etc. in all fields of contemporary popular fantasy;
Relationships between popular fantasy and feminism, gender studies, queer theory and politics;
Authorial responsibility regarding the representation of gender and sexuality;
Potentials and possibilities for non-normative representations of gender and sexuality in popular fantasy.
These lists are far from complete and should be taken only as a starting point, rather than definitive.
The intention in this collection is engage directly and explicitly with an enormously successful popular genre which is often overlooked by literary and cultural criticism, rather than to look at ‘the fantastic’ broadly conceived. This is not to ignore the permeable boundaries of popular fantasy and the ways in which this genre is in continual dialogue with other genres. Essays exploring liminality – as long as they maintain a primary focus on gender and sexuality – are welcome.
The scope of the contemporary is as unstable as the boundaries of genre and therefore is open to discussion. Generally speaking texts under discussion should have been produced, released or published within the last 20 years, however if there is a clear reason for expanding this timeframe earlier texts may be considered. Please do get in touch to discuss your ideas.
Once selected the table of contents and abstracts will be submitted to Ashgate 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 email@example.com by 15th December.
Dr Jude Roberts
London Semester Programme
University of London