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Essays for Collection on Supergirl Television Series–Under Contract

deadline for submissions:
June 1, 2017

full name / name of organization:
Tim Rayborn and Melissa Wehler

contact email:

McFarland Publishers, an independent book publisher devoted to a wide variety of topics, including history, sports, and pop culture, will be releasing a collection of essays on the CW television series Supergirl. Tim Rayborn and Melissa Wehler will take on the role of editors.

Tim has written three books for McFarland (The Violent Pilgrimage, Against the Friars, and A New English Music), and co-edited an anthology of studies of the series Jessica Jones, to be published by McFarland in 2017. He has a PhD from the University of Leeds (UK), and has written numerous articles for magazines and journals, as well as an ongoing book series for Skyhorse Publishing. Melissa is the Dean of Humanities and Sciences, Central Penn College, Summerdale, PA. Her publications include book chapters in various edited collections, including “‘Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky’: Neil Gaiman’s Extraordinarily Ordinary Coraline,’” in A Quest of Her Own: The Female Hero in Modern Fantasy (McFarland, 2014) and “The Haunted Transatlantic Libertine: Edmund Kean’s American Tour” in Transnational Gothic: Literary and Social Exchanges in the Long Nineteenth Century (Ashgate Publishing, 2013).

Supergirl is now in its second season. It began life on CBS, but was moved to the CW at the end of season 1 to bring it into the same continuity as Executive Producer Greg Berlanti’s other DC Comics television shows (Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow). It has generated many positive reviews, though some feel that season two has shifted its tone somewhat from the first, particularly in keeping its female characters as the main focus.

The show explores a variety of topics, including women’s lives and roles (as a government agent, as the CEO of a media empire, as a police detective, as president, and as one of the most powerful beings on earth), the sister relationship between Kara and Alex Danvers (often held to be the heart of the show), the importance of family (regardless of how that family is created), issues concerning immigration and refugees, and LGBTQ representation (Alex’s coming out story arc and her subsequent relationship with detective Maggie Sawyer).

There is a wealth of material from the show that can be thoroughly examined. In assembling a collection of essays, we would like to see a variety of topics, particularly centered on gender studies, LGBTQ studies, and related psychology and sociology. Possible subjects might include:

The positive portrayal of women in these various and important roles
The portrayal of women as many of the show’s best villains
Subverted gender roles
LGBTQ representation in Alex’s highly-praised coming-out story arc
The “Sanvers” romance and its positive impact on LGBTQ communities and fandom
The role of family in the show (Alex and Kara as sisters; their relationship to their mother, Eliza; J’onn as a surrogate father to them both)
Thematic similarities and differences between seasons one and two, related to any of these topics
Sociological studies, such as which themes resonate with modern viewers, especially women and the LGBTQ community.
Essays must be in American English and spellings, fully cited with end notes, and bibliography, all in accordance with the current Chicago Manual of Style (the preferred style manual for this collection). The length of each contribution should be between about 6,000 and 8,000 words, unless there is a good reason that a given essay should be shorter or longer. Please use clear, concise writing, not overly academic jargon or dense prose.

Peer review will be conducted after the collection is submitted, currently scheduled for October, 2017. Accordingly, the deadline for final chapter submission is July 15, 2017, to allow us time to edit properly. Submissions before that deadline are, of course, most welcome and helpful. Season 2 has not yet finished, but contributors are welcome to submit proposals now about their topics before the season finale airs in early May. All proposals must be submitted by mid-May (final date to be decided).

If contributors wish to include images not in public domain or text excerpts from copyrighted materials requiring written permission to reproduce, they will be expected to obtain such permissions on their own, and pay the required reproduction fees (if needed); McFarland cannot reimburse for this expense. We will need hard copies of each such permission. McFarland also prefers that contributors not use extended quotations of dialogue from episodes, as well as images/screen captures, as these require additional permission/fees from the television network and can delay publication, unless contributors can obtain said permissions and pay fees themselves.

Potential contributors should submit a one- to two-page proposal including a potential title, a short description of the topic(s) for your essay, a brief summary of your background and qualifications, and contact information.

Please email your proposals to Tim at: