Call for Abstracts | The Speculative Body: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Televisual Imagination | Call ends October 15, 2018

In the nearly post-human, hyper-connected twenty-first century, what does it mean to “have” a body? How does the personal body interact with, reproduce, subvert, resist, and/or reify the national body, if either of these can be said to exist? Do the televisual stories of the body that we are currently telling and consuming offer us anything new in our understanding of gender, race, sexuality, and dis/ability? What bodies are foregrounded, foreshadowed, and forgotten in these speculations? As humans variously grapple with and ignore climate change, shifting borders, refugee crises, epidemics, sexual violence, and other local and global phenomena, do our speculations reflect hope, despair, fear, nihilism, or something else, and what does that reveal about our current moment and the political and cultural currency of our “bodies”, both personal and collective?

“The Speculative Body: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Televisual Imagination” will consider these and related questions through multi-disciplinary analyses of speculative TV and film, with particularly close attention paid to gender, sexuality, race, ability, and nation/citizenship. We understand “body” in a broad sense, both encompassing but also expanding outside of the (presumed) domains of gender, race, and sexuality to question and destabilize the boundaries of both the human and the national “body”. By “speculative” storytelling we intend a focus on television and film that soften a hardened sense of empirical reality and explore the “what if” questions, including but not necessarily limited to: science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, and all their various intersections, noting the ways in which these genre “bodies” are frequently blurred and combined.

Relevant themes might include:

    • Anatamo-politics, biopolitics, and the anthropocene
    • Cyborgs and cyborg feminism
    • Futurisms through raced, sexed, gendered, and dis/abled perspectives
    • Shifting personal, national, and technological bodies
    • Interactions of the non-human world (climate, animals, vegetables, technologies, gods, monsters, etc.) with personal, political, and social bodies
    • Hybrid bodies
    • Transhuman stories and storytelling
    • The technoceutical body
    • Labor/capitalism and the body
    • Connections and disconnections within and between collective gendered, sexed, ethnic, national, hemispheric, global, and interstellar bodies
    • The body in flux: travel, disintegration, re-integration, time
    • The body in stasis: immortality, health, resurrection
    • The reproductive body
    • The non-reproductive body
    • The in/secure body, the vulnerable body, the “strong” body
    • The nationalist body, the patriotic body

We seek contributors working or interested in speculating in these and related areas from a queer, feminist, critical race, and/or disability studies perspective. All disciplines are welcome, but writers must anchor their analysis in a televisual story accessible to US audiences (although transnational speculations and stories are welcome, as long as US audiences can access them). Comparative studies are encouraged. For example, how has the cyborg body changed or not changed in our televisual narratives over the last several decades, and how does that reflect changes in the social body? Does/how does anime as an art form in a series like Case Closed potentially tell a different meta-story about the body, race, sexuality and/or dis/ability from, for example, Cartoon Network’s anime-inspired Steven Universe?

Abstracts of approximately 500 words are due by October 15 2018 Please include a brief biography, including your primary discipline. Invitations will be issued by October 1 2018 and chapters of approximately 6000 words (including references) will be due by January 15 2019.

Contact Info:

Sherry Zane
Associate Director
Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies
University of Connecticut
354 Mansfield Drive
Storrs, CT  06269
(860) 486-7943


Barbara Gurr
Associate Professor in Residence
Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies
University of Connecticut
Storrs, CT  06269

Contact Email:

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