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Author Archives: Skye Cervone

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′.

Into the Bush: Australasian Fairy Tales
A Special Issue of TEXT
Editors: Dr Nike Sulway, Dr Rebecca Anne Do Rozario,
Dr Belinda Calderone

The fairy tale has a long tradition in both oral and literary forms. Indeed, recently Sara da Silva and Jamshid Tehrani have argued, using a phylogenetic analysis of tales in the Aarne Thompson Uther (ATU) index, that some of the tales still told today ‘can be securely traced back to … between 2500 and 6000 years ago’ (8). Such an ancient tradition has left its mark across a range of literary traditions, including those of Australasia. While old and gnarled, the fairy tale is also alive and well, informing contemporary literary practice across a range of forms and genres, in works written for both children and adults.

This Special issue of TEXT, developed in association with the Australian Fairy Tale Society, responds to the challenge of honouring the long-lived traditions of the fairy tale in the Australasian context, of exploring and expanding our understanding of fairy tales and their tellers in a postcolonial context.

This issue seeks to reflect on Australasia’s unique creative and scholarly contributions to this long-lived genre, and seeks submissions that address the growing interest in fairy tale narratives across a range of platforms, particularly those stories set in and around Australasia.

Submissions may address, but are not limited to, the following:
• Writing about fairy tales and their tellers
• Fairy tales in the Australasian landscape/context
• Fairy tales in the colonial and postcolonial context
• Appropriations and adaptations
• Gender, sexuality and the fairy tale
• Teaching and learning about fairy tales
• Tale types and tropes: critical discussions of the ATU and Propp models, of Dundes’s motifemes or similar schemas
• Other relevant topics and issues

Scholarly papers should be no more than 6000 words in length. Creative works will usually be up to 3,500 words in length, or as agreed by editors.

Creative work must be accompanied by an ERA research statement that clearly explains the submission’s relevance as a research outcome. Peruse any of TEXT journal’s Creative Writing as Research special issues to familiarise yourself with research statements.

Please also contact us with ideas for book reviews.

Please include a brief biography (200 words max, in TEXT style) and ensure that you include your email address for reply. Submissions MUST be in TEXT style and formatting. Please see for submission guidelines.

Deadline for initial submission: July 29, 2016
Final revised submissions will be due: September 15, 2016
Publication date: April, 2017
Email:,, or

Compared to film, TV and the novel, science fiction theatre is not a widely discussed topic. But, whilst there is only one book from the 1990s that lists the history of sf plays, there is a long legacy of staging the fantastical, including the importance of Karel Čapek’s R.U.R. (1920) in coining the term ‘robot’. With contemporary mainstream plays such as Constellations, The Nether, Mr Burns and X, sf theatre may be experiencing something of a revival. There are an increasing number of sf theatre companies worldwide as well as a new anthology in sf plays.

Foundation seeks articles for a special issue on science fiction and theatre, to be published in winter 2017. Why is sf not analysed as often in theatre than other media? What is lost and what is gained when a text is adapted for the stage? Are there any genre tropes that cannot be staged effectively in theatre? What tropes work particularly well for the stage? All topics and methodologies are welcome including (but not limited to) stage depictions of the future, constructions and representations of sf tropes, performing the non- and post-human, space-time on stage, and adaptations of sf films and novels.

Please send submissions of up to 6000 words by 5th February 2017 to, attaching the file in either .rtf or .doc format. For questions about formatting, please see the style guide at; for all other enquiries, please contact Susan Gray at

Foundation Essay Prize 2017

November 7, 2016
full name / name of organization:
Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction

We are pleased to announce our next essay-writing competition. The award is open to all post-graduate research students and to all early career researchers (up to five years after the completion of your PhD) who have yet to find a full-time or tenured position. The prize is guaranteed publication in the next summer issue of Foundation (August 2017).

To be considered for the competition, please submit a 6000 word article on any topic, period, theme, author, film or other media within the field of science fiction and its academic study. All submitted articles should comply with the guidelines to contributors as set out on the SF Foundation website. Only one article per contributor is allowed to be submitted.

The deadline for submission is 7th November 2016. All competition entries, with a short (50 word) biography, should be sent to the regular email address: The entries will be judged by the editorial team and the winner will be announced in the spring 2017 issue of Foundation.


Proposals related to the podcast Welcome to Night Vale are solicited for chapter contributions to an edited scholarly collection to be published by Palgrave.

The editor seeks to include a range of approaches focusing on both form and content. Topics may include but are not limited to:

*      internal themes and allusions

*      genre and influences

*      performance, music, and effects

*      politics and historical contextualization

*      podcast production, distribution, and consumption

*      reception and fandom

*      paratexts, marketing, and merchandise

250-word proposals and abbreviated CV indicating academic position and publications due by June 15th, 2016.

5000-word chapters due by February 15th, 2017.

Inquires and proposals to Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock at Jeffrey.Weinstock[at]

Call for Papers
June 20, 2016
New Jersey, United States
Subject Fields:
Film and Film History, Popular Culture Studies, Literature, Journalism and Media Studies, Cultural History / Studies

Film and media adaptations have frequently projected an alternate cinematic world on screen that re-imagines the past and future. Movies (Blade Runner, The Quiet American), TV shows (Sherlock, Agent Carter), and digital ‘new media’ series—increasingly streamed and ‘binge watched’ on Netflix (House of Cards) and Amazon (The Man in the High Castle)—have been inspired by a variety of fiction novels, short stories, plays, comics, graphic novels, and historical works of nonfiction, memoirs (Bridge of Spies) or documentary (Jazz on a Summer’s Day) cine-essays that mediate and reframe history to portray an alternate worldview which re-imagines the past and anticipates a vision of future events. Digital video streaming and binge watching of films and media also creates an alternate world transforming the cinematic or televisual viewing reception experience. What does this cinematic adapting, re-imagining of the past (or future), and projection of an alternate world on screen tell us about the cultural moment we find ourselves in? Submit 300-500 word proposals in ALL AREAS of film and media studies on the LFA Online Submission Page by June 20, 2016.  Keynote speakers: Thomas Doherty (Brandeis Univ), Nate Chinen (NYT/JazzTimes), Frank Spotnitz (Man in the High Castle)

The 2016 Literature/Film Association (LFA) conference explores the theme of “Alternate Worlds.” Every work of film, media and fiction in every medium presents a world distinct from our own. Adaptations in particular can be defined in terms of their worlds, which provide alternatives to both the world of their audience and the world of their source texts. And some works of fiction invite us to think more speculatively and precisely about what it means to present or encounter an alternate world. Proposals relating to the conference theme outlined above are especially encouraged, but also of significant interest are submissions on adaptation studies, film and history, national cinemas, film genres and stars, auteur studies, film and technology, television and new media, and cultural or political issues connected to the moving image—including any presentations concerning the alternate worlds adaptations theme and other works of imaginative fiction create in a broader context across film, literature, and media.

Proposal abstracts in ALL AREAS of film and media studies should be 300-500 words in length and are due by June 20, 2016.
Please submit your proposal electronically by entering your abstract on the LFA Conference Submission Form:

The conference’s keynote speakers will be:

Frank Spotnitz, Chief Executive of Big Light Productions and writer-producer of the Amazon television series The Man in the High Castle (and The X-Files) who will discuss adapting Philip K. Dick;

Nate Chinen, award-winning New York Times and JazzTimes critic (co-author of Myself Among Others: A Life in Music with George Wein) will discuss adapting jazz to film in the Newport documentary Jazz on a Summer’s Day;

Thomas Doherty, Professor and Chair of American Studies at Brandeis University, an Academy Film Scholar, Fulbright Scholar, associate editor for Cineaste, film review editor for the Journal of American History, and cultural historian with a special interest in Hollywood cinema. Doherty’s books include Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939 (Columbia UP); Hollywood’s Censor: Joseph I. Breen and the Production Code Administration (Columbia UP); Cold War, Cool Medium: Television, McCarthyism, and American Culture (Columbia UP); Pre-Code Hollywood: Sex, Immorality and Insurrection in American Cinema, 1930-1934 (Columbia UP); Projections of War: Hollywood, American Culture, and World War II (Columbia UP); and Teenagers & Teenpics: The Juvenilization of American Movies in the 1950’s (Unwin Hyman).

The conference will take place at Rowan University, located in Glassboro, in South New Jersey. It is within easy driving distance of Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and about 100 miles south of New York City, and is served by the nearby Philadelphia (PHL) airport. The official conference hotel is the Courtyard Marriott Glassboro-Rowan University, located adjacent to the Rowan University campus, where a special rate of $119/night is available to attendees who book rooms before September 15, 2016. Reservations can be made by calling 1-888-236-2427 or online at…
The hotel is right next to campus.

The Literature/Film Association will make available two travel awards of $500 each for graduate student or junior faculty attendees who demonstrate a need for financial assistance. A special prize of $250 will also be awarded for the best graduate student paper delivered at the conference.

The conference registration fee is $150 before September 15, 2016 and $175 thereafter. All conference attendees must also be current members of the Literature/Film Association. Annual dues are $20. To register for the conference and pay dues, visit the Literature/Film Association website at and use our PayPal feature. More information on the conference at:

Presenters will be invited to submit their work to Literature/Film Quarterly for potential publication. For details on the journal’s submission requirements, visit

Please contact the Literature/Film Association at with any questions.

Contact Info:

Sheri Chinen Biesen

Secretary, Literature/Film Association

Contact Email: