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Monthly Archives: June 2016



“Fantastika” – a term appropriated from a range of Slavonic languages by John Clute – embraces the genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, but can also include alternative histories, gothic, steampunk, young adult dystopian fiction, or any other radically imaginative narrative space. The goal of Fantastika Journal is to bring together academics and researchers who share an interest in this diverse range of fields with the aim of opening up new dialogues, productive controversies and collaborations. We invite discussion of all mediums and disciplines which concern the Fantastika genres.

The first issue aims to explore and evaluate current research into Fantastika. As well as cataloguing and challenging established critical stances and recent developments, we are looking for approaches which embrace the self-reflexivity latent in the study of speculative and fantastical texts. It is our position that to ask questions about and within Fantastika studies is also to ask ‘what is Fantastika?’ – that to read or identify Fantastika as Fantastika is to probe and strengthen our own hermeneutics. Research topics and questions which relate to our theme include, but are not limited to, the following:

– Parameters: the relation between genres and fields. What constitutes genre, and what is its relation to Fantastika? How significant are ideas of genre to Fantastika?
– Critical categories and taxonomies. What is the value of constructing new terminologies to encapsulate given affects, fields, intersections or modes? What is the relative worth of an umbrella term or category as opposed to a discrete one, and vice-versa?
– Fantastika and history. What is the relationship between attempts at definition, hermeneutics or critical reading and the fluctuating field of history? How can historical contexts and studies constitute a lens through which new critical methods and perspectives become available?
– Liminality and ‘ownership’. Why do distinct fields of study attempt to incorporate or ‘possess’ certain texts, authors and subgenres under their banners? What is the significance of fields of study which could be considered modes rather than genres? How does reading a text within or against a generic or modal definition change, enhance, or determine the reading? What is the relationship between the umbrella term and the specific texts that might be studied under it, especially when considering close textual analysis?
– Developments and trajectories. What is (or could be) the meaning of Fantastika – both as a set of literatures and discourses and as a collective categorisation – in academia today? What are the most important trends and developments in the study of Fantastika and how do they relate to the shifting position of academia in the 21st century?

We invite articles of 5,000 – 7,000 length. Please submit articles in doc or docx format to by 15th September 2016 along with a 300 word abstract and short bionote in separate documents. Articles should be in accordance the MLA Style Manual. Submissions should be made under the subject line “First Special Edition.” Please note that all articles published with Fantastika Journal will undergo peer-review before publication.

The International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts Announces its 10th annual Jamie Bishop Memorial Award for a critical essay on the fantastic written in a language other than English. The IAFA defines the fantastic to include science fiction, folklore, and related genres in literature, drama, film, art and graphic design, and related disciplines. For more information on the award and on past winners, please see  (please note the updated submission criteria, below).


Submission criteria:

  • Essays should be of high scholarly quality, as if for publication in an academic journal.
  • We consider essays from 3,000-10,000 words in length (including notes and bibliography).
  • Essays may be unpublished scholarship submitted by the author, or already published work nominated either by the author or another scholar (in which case the author’s permission should be obtained before submission).
  • Essays must have been written and (when applicable) published in the original language within the last three years prior to submission.
  • An abstract in English must accompany all submissions; an English translation of the title of the essay should also be included.
  • Only one essay per person may be submitted each year.
  • Submissions must be made electronically in Word format.


Deadline for submissions: September 1st


Prize: $250 U.S. and one year’s free membership in the IAFA to be awarded at the annual International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts held each March. Winning essays may be posted on the IAFA website in the original language and/or considered for publication in the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts ( should they be translated into English.


Please direct all inquiries and submissions to:

Amy J. Ransom

Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures & Cultures

305 Pearce Hall

Central Michigan University

Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859  USA

Conference on Mermaids, Maritime Folklore, and Modernity
24-27 October 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark

This interdisciplinary conference addresses the prominence of the mermaid and related creatures from folklore, myth, legend, and the imagination in 19th, 20th, and 21st-Century culture.

The past decades have seen an explosion of mermaid imagery in western and, increasingly, global popular culture. This is particularly evident in cinema, television, literature, and various web-based forms but is also widely diffused in music, design, performance, cosplay, and other activities. Simultaneously, mermen, selkies, sirens, and newer figures such as caecelia and merlions have been subject to representation and discussion in a range of contexts. From Hans Christian Andersen’s story ‘The Little Mermaid’ (Den lille Havfrue) to Jennifer Donnely’s WaterFire Saga, from Curtis Harrington’s Night Tide to Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid (美人鱼), from Edvard Eriksen’s iconic ‘The Little Mermaid’ statue to Banksy’s Dismaland distortion, from the mermaid show at Weeki Wachi Springs to the digital mermaids at Macau’s City of Dreams, mermaids have served as figures of romance, horror, comedy, mystery, lust, and adventure across countless media and cultural practices.

Cultural globalisation has furthermore drawn a wide range of non-western creatures and deities into the sphere of mermaid associations. Representations of aquatic spirits from around the world – Thailand’s Suvannamaccha, West Africa’s Mami Wata, Indonesia’s Nyai Loro Kidul, Russia’s rusalka, Brazil’s Iara, and many more – are increasingly influencing and being influenced by western mermaid culture. This is a continuation of a process that has occurred in the West itself, as figures from Mesopotamia and Classical antiquity influenced Medieval and Early Modern Western European perceptions and interpretations of real and imagined encounters with aquatic beings.

How to make a presentation.
Papers and panels are invited on all aspects of mermaids and related entities in 19th, 20th, and 21st-Century culture. Presentations will address such issues as:
• Representations in popular culture
• Representations in fine art contexts
• Aficionado cultures and/or cosplay
• Contemporary folk belief
• Cultural Theory and interpretation
• Sexualities and identification
• Roles as objects of horror, comedy, sex, etc.
• International comparisons
• Official symbols and symbolism.

The deadline for abstracts is 31 March 2017, but to ensure that you have the opportunity to take part in the conference and have the time to seek funding from your institution, we recommend that you submit your abstract early.

Artists working in various media are also invited to approach the organizers about presenting their work at the conference.

Keynote speaker.

The conference keynote speech will be given by Philip Hayward, whose new book Making a Splash! Mermaids (and Mermen) in 20th and 21st Century Audiovisual Media(JLP/University of Indiana Press) will be launched at the conference.

About the conference.

On 24-25 October, delegates will explore Copenhagen, visiting mermaid-related sites and engaging in the local culture. Besides seeing Edvard Eriksen’s 1913 statue of ‘The Little Mermaid’, which has become a national symbol of Denmark, the conference group will visit numerous other works of merfolk art and engage with Copenhagen’s vibrant culture. On the evening of 18 October, delegates will visit the enchanting Tivoli Gardens amusement park. Conference presentations will take place on 26-27 October at VerdensKulturCentret.


We will be putting together an edited book or journal special issue as a result of this conference. More information will be available in early summer 2017.

Please visit

The journal “Preternature: Critical and Historical Studies on the Preternatural” is currently seeking original submissions. Preternature is indexed by both JSTOR and Project MUSE.

Preternature provides an interdisciplinary, inclusive forum for the study of topics that stand in the liminal space between the known world and the inexplicable. The journal embraces a broad and dynamic definition of the preternatural that encompasses the weird and uncanny—magic, witchcraft, spiritualism, occultism, esotericism, demonology, monstrophy, and more, recognizing that the areas of magic, religion, and science are fluid and that their intersections should continue to be explored, contextualized, and challenged.

A rigorously peer-reviewed journal, Preternature welcomes submissions of original research in English from any academic discipline and theoretical approach relating to the role and significance of the preternatural. The journal publishes scholarly articles, notes, and reviews covering all time periods and cultures. Additionally, Preternature is pleased to consider original editions or translations of relevant texts from contemporary or ancient languages that have not yet appeared in scholarly edition or been made available in English.

Contributions should be roughly 8,000–12,000 words (with the possibility of longer submissions in exceptional cases), including all documentation and critical apparatus. If accepted for publication, manuscripts will be required to adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition (style 1, employing footnotes).

To submit a manuscript to the editorial office, please visit
and create an author profile. The online system will guide you through the steps to upload your article for submission to the editorial office.

Inquiries may be directed to the Editor, Debbie Felton, at:

Orphan Black: Sestras, Scorpions, and Crazy Science

June 30, 2016
full name / name of organization:
Janet Brennan Croft and Alyson Buckman, eds.
contact email:

ORPHAN BLACK: Sestras, Scorpions, and Crazy  Science

Edited by Janet Brennan Croft and Alyson Buckman


The BBC America television series Orphan Black (2013- ) has been widely praised for its compelling writing, resonant themes, and innovative special effects, as well as  the bravura acting of Tatiana Maslany, who plays an ever-growing number of clones drawn into an increasingly dangerous world of cutting-edge science, corporate espionage, military secrets, and religious fanaticism. The series is a strong example of our current golden age of serial-form story-telling, and heir to pioneering shows centered on strong female characters, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Lost, and Xena. Themes of identity, bodily autonomy, gender, and sexuality play off against corporate greed and its co-option of science, family dynamics complicated by religion and politics, and shifting alliances formed by love, hate, and the need for survival. The show is notable for the centrality of this strong group of female clones, who are astonishingly diverse and remarkably strong characters. This book is under contract with McFarland.


Deadline for abstracts: after Season 4 ends, estimated end of June 2016

Deadline for finished paper drafts: early September 2016

Manuscript to publisher: November 2016, with a goal of publishing shortly before or coinciding with the beginning of Season 5, likely to be April 2017

Other circumstances: If we learn that Season 5 is to be the final season, we may consider extending this project one year.

Please send abstracts of 250-1000 words to


Potential Topics:

  • Gender: how do the different clones perform gender and what are the consequences of this?
  • Sexuality: what are the consequences to thinking about sexuality in that the different clones pursue differing models of sexuality? What questions does this varied sexuality raise about nature vs. nurture?
  • Identity: how does cloning complicate contemporary ideas about identity formation? What are the identity politics of the series?
  • Parenting: how does the series interrogate parenting, including fostering and adoption, mothering and fathering, healthful and pathological?
  • Science and religion: contrasting the rejection or co-option of science in service of the religious vision of the Prolethian sects and the Neolutionists.
  • Copyright/patents/ownership: what are the implications of medical technology and legal questions raised in the show for self-identity and body integrity?
  • Meta-representations of science: the phenomenon of Orphan Black science explainer blogs on io9, The Mary Sue, and elsewhere, and the highly visible role of the show’s science consultant (the “real Cosima”).
  • Other meta-approaches: fan interactions with the show; technical study of the special effects and the acting techniques needed for clone interactions; comic book tie-ins.
  • The “Bechdel Test” and its obverse: the role and performance of the male presence in a female-centric series, and how it has changed over the seasons.
  • Reproduction: the focus of the show on fertility and its control; weaponized breeding and sterility as military tactics.
  • Character studies: Sarah’s mothering instinct, Alison’s moral relativity, Helena’s hunger for family, and so on.
  • Infiltrating the soulless corporation: Dyad/Topside and the theme of the individual versus the corporation.
  • Mythological and literary references: both overt (Leda, Castor, Alice in Wonderland,sources of episode titles,etc.) and in the deeper structure (heroine journey; twins; mothers and children)


About the Editors:

Janet Brennan Croft is Head of Access Services and Associate Professor at the Rutgers University libraries.  She is the author of War in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien (Praeger, 2004; winner of the Mythopoeic Society Award for Inklings Studies) and several book chapters on the Peter Jackson films; has published articles on J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Buffy and Angel, and other topics in Mythlore, Mallorn, Tolkien Studies, Slayage, and Seven; and is editor or co-editor of several collections of essays, including Tolkien on Film: Essays on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings (Mythopoeic Press, 2004), Tolkien and Shakespeare: Essays on Shared Themes and Language(McFarland, 2006), Lois McMaster Bujold: Essays on a Modern Master of Science Fiction(McFarland, 2012) and Author of the New Century: T.A. Shippey and the Creation of the Next Canon (McFarland, 2013). She edits the refereed scholarly journal Mythlore. Her most recent publications are Perilous and Fair: Women in the Works and Life of J.R.R. Tolkien and Baptism of Fire: The Birth of British Fantasy in World War I, both edited collections for Mythopoeic Press.


Alyson Buckman is a professor in the Humanities and Religious Studies Department at California State University, Sacramento. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in popular culture, multiculturalism, film, the body, and American culture. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in American Studies at Purdue University.  She is the author of multiple essays on the work of Joss Whedon, Alice Walker, and Octavia Butler. She also is co-editor of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse: Confounding Purpose, Confusing Identity(2014). Her most recent project is a book on the construction of history in the worlds of Joss Whedon.

Call for Contributors: Fan Phenomena: Game of Thrones

June 15, 2016
full name / name of organization:
Kavita Mudan Finn
contact email:


With five books and approximately eight million words published thus far in the Song of Ice and Fire series (1996-ongoing) and the sixth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones currently airing, we are seeing the beginnings of a school of criticism devoted to George R.R. Martin’s works and their peculiar brand of deconstructive and in many ways postmodern interpretations of the fantasy genre and medievalism. Often positioned as the grittier antithesis of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, Martin’s narrative focuses on the darker side of chivalry and heroism, stripping away these higher ideals to reveal the greed, amorality, and lust for power underpinning them.


The Fan Phenomena series from Intellect Press is seeking contributors for a new volume on Game of Thrones. This series explores and decodes the fascination we have with what constitutes an iconic or cult phenomenon and how a particular person, TV show, or film character/film infiltrates its way into the public consciousness. Game of Thrones has done precisely that, first subtly and on the fringes as the book series A Song of Ice and Fire, before the lush production values and dynamic cast of the HBO series made it a worldwide blockbuster.


Some suggested topics are listed below, although feel free to propose something not on this list. The only requirement is that your proposed chapter focus not just on the show or the books, but on fans and fan responses to either or both.


  • Demographics of Game of Thrones fans: Who makes up the Game of Thronesfandom? How does the actual fandom differ from the show’s perceived/intended audience?
  • Location tourism: Fans who visit filming locations for the HBO series in Ireland, Croatia, Spain, etc; how these locations are capitalising on Game of Thrones fans
  • The cast of the HBO series and their engagements with fans/social media: e.g. cast accounts on Twitter/Vine/etc; advantages and disadvantages of cast interviews
  • Game of Thrones as a response to Tolkien/Tolkienesque fantasy traditions
  • Is Game of Thrones “medieval”? Why or why not?
  • Languages: Dothraki, Valyrian, Ghiscari, etc.
  • Official/unofficial merchandise: e.g. items with house sigils found on HBO’s website in contrast with items found on Etsy/Deviantart; T-shirt sites like Teefury, which walk an interesting line between official and unofficial merchandise with Game of Thrones-inspired designs
  • Costumes and cosplay: e.g. exhibitions of actual props/costumes from the series, mechanics of Game of Thrones cosplay
  • Fanart vs. officially sanctioned art: e.g. Kickstarter for Draw ‘Em With the Pointy End (2015) in contrast to The World of Ice and Fire (2014), published with George R.R. Martin’s involvement; art based on Game of Thrones as opposed to art based on A Song of Ice and Fire
  • Fanfiction vs. adaptation: Is Game of Thrones just big-budget sanctioned fanfiction of A Song of Ice and Fire? If so, what does that mean for fan authors? If not, what differentiates it from fanfiction? Divides in the fandom over books vs. show
  • Feminist/Postcolonial/Intersectional critiques of the books/show and how they manifest within the fandom
  • Fancasting vs. HBO casting: e.g. fancasting actors who eventually appear on the show (Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell), whitewashing controversies, racebent/genderbent fancasting
  • Curative (Wikis, forums) vs. Transformative (fanfiction, fanart) engagement
  • Negotiating two co-existing “canons,” book and show
  • Spoilers: What do we do with them? Do we even have them anymore, now that the show has overtaken the books chronologically?
  • Reacting to people reacting to Game of Thrones (i.e. the “shocking” moment videos on YouTube)
  • Intertextuality: References on other TV shows, movies, books (CommunityParks & RecreationThe Seth Myers Show, even President Obama); Internet memes
  • Parodies
  • House Sortings: Compare to sorting quizzes in other fandoms (e.g. Hogwarts Houses)

Essays in Fan Phenomena volumes are generally expected to be 3,000-4,000 words and written to appeal to both academics and fans. There are also a limited number of slots for interviews and profiles of specific fans or people involved with the series that would be 1,500-2,000 words each.


Please send a 300-word abstract and a short biographical statement to Kavita Mudan Finn by June 15, 2016. Please also indicate whether your proposed chapter would include images; if so, how many; and whether you anticipate needing to obtain copyright permissions.


Note: Completed chapters will be due September 1, 2016 in order to accommodate a publication date prior to Season 7.

Critical Essays on American Horror Story


A call for proposed chapters for an edited book on American Horror Story ‘ (2011-) has been released. Taken from the original CFA, the details are as follows:

‘American Horror Story is an anthology horror series created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. The series comprises five seasons—Murder House, Asylum, Coven, Freak Show, and Hotel—each self-contained, featuring a different storyline, characters, setting, and time period. The series, which has garnered acclaim from critics and from its devoted audience, has been lauded for how it blends (and bends) elements of the horror genre with true events in American history, as well as for its exceptional recurring cast. AHS has also received praise—and some criticism—for how it tackles sensitive topics like sexuality and race. The series is campy, graphic, and excessive; it revels in being transgressive.

We invite proposals for scholarly essays on any topic pertaining to any season of the show (or a combination of seasons) for an edited collection that will interrogate the intricacies of this subversive series.

Topics for essays could include, but are not limited to:
– representations of race, gender, and/or sexuality
– depictions of monsters/monstrosity
– the grotesque
– the gothic/Southern Gothic
– generic conventions of horror
– intertextuality
– connections between seasons
– revision/reimagining of American history
– AHS’s place in American pop culture
– audience reception
– environment
– space/place
– philosophy

Please send proposals of 250-500 words to Cameron Williams ( and Leverett Butts ( by June 30, 2016. Completed manuscript drafts should be 5000-8000 words and will be due in early 2017′.