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CFP: Gender, Genre and the Body in Contemporary North American and European Film

Call for Academic Papers for an Edited Collection:

Gender, Genre and the Body in Contemporary North American and European Film

Gender and the body are inextricably connected, and it could be argued that within any given filmic context, they are also closely related to genre and generic traditions. Moreover, genres often use genders, gender stereotypes and bodies in diverse and specific ways, and gender and its relationship to the body performs different functions in the context of a given genre. In horror, for example, the body is typically tortured, ruptured and made abject, as evidenced in films such as Human Centipede II (dir. Tom Six, 2011), Prevenge (dir. Alice Lowe, 2016) and Raw (dir. Julia Ducournau, 2016). In action/adventure, for instance, the body and the performance of gender is usually spectacular, robust and is tested to the limit, in films like The Expendables (dir. Sylvester Stallone, 2010), White House Down (dir. Roland Emmerich, 2013), and Atomic Blonde (dir. David Leitch, 2017). 

This collection, then, aims to critically examine and interrogate the representation of the body and its relationship to both gender and genre in contemporary North American and European film. For the sake of clarity, contemporary strictly means post-2010, and the films included and under discussion should have been produced and circulated in any North American or European countries. Moreover, we are using the term ‘film’ instead of ‘cinema’, as we will accept chapters that not only examine and discuss theatrically-released films, but also underground and avant-garde films, as well as there being a section dedicated to (hard-core) pornography.

The collection will be structured around popular genres, and these are:

  • Horror

  • Comedy

  • Action/Adventure

  • Romance

  • Drama/Melodrama

  • Science-fiction

  • (Hard-core) Pornography

  • Musical

We are aiming to have 3 chapters for each section, with each chapter being 6,000 words long. In regards to hybrid genres, such as the rom-com or the ‘thriller’, it will be at the discretion of the editors to decide where to best place the chapter, and this decision will revolve around what films are being used as case studies, as well as how the authors frame their argument. In other words, we do not discourage applications which are concerned with hybrid films, but we do not have dedicated sections to hybrid or sub-genres.

Furthermore, chapters may centre on (but are obviously not limited to):

  • Masculinity, genre and the body

  • Femininity, genre and the body

  • Intersections of race, gender and the body

  • Intersections of sexuality, gender and the body

  • Intersections of class, gender and the body

  • Feminist approaches to gender, genre and the body

  • Embodiment

  • Queer bodies

  • Gender, genre and disability

  • Gender and/or bodily stereotypes

  • Labour, agency and the ‘working body’

  • Artificial bodies

  • ‘Unreal’ and/or spectacular bodies

The editors have been in contact with Edinburgh University Press, for this to be included in their ‘Gender and the Body in Contemporary Literature and Culture’ series, to which the series editors are also keen. Once abstracts have been accepted, a formal proposal will be sent to EUP in December 2019, with publication hopefully being early-to-mid 2022.

Please send abstracts of 250 – 300 words, with a supporting bio of no more than 100 words, to: gendergenrebodies@gmail.com by 18th October 2019.

Darren Elliott-Smith