Edited by Michele Byers, Saint Mary’s University, and David Lavery, Middle Tennessee State University.
The editors are currently seeking proposals and contributions for an edited collection of essays focused on the television series My So-Called Life (1994 – 95).
In 1999, Salon.com’s Joyce Millman described “TV’s Teenage Girl Hall of Fame” as populated by, for example, Lindsay Weir (Freaks & Geeks), Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Angela Chase (My So-Called Life). Though certainly not the first young woman to be the center of a television series, Angela, and the show about her life, was seen to be doing something new on television, and is seen to have influenced many of the shows about young people that came after it. Though it lasted only one season, the popularity of the series remains high, as does the perception that its legacy continues to be felt in series produced since it went off the air. Though the series appeared in syndication for some time, in 2002 BMG Special Productions released the complete series in a five-CD box set. Given that the series is now widely available to viewers old and new, we would like to take the opportunity to examine this important series in a volume aimed at an educated but not highly specialized audience. The essays chosen to be included will be open to a variety of styles and subjects, and should be scholarly but not obscure, knowledgeable but not erudite. A publisher will be sought from among both mainstream and university presses.
We are seeking submissions on all topics related to My So-Called Life; the following list is meant to be suggestive, but in no way represents the only possible areas of inquiry we are interested in including in this book:
Studies of individual or groups of characters and/or actors
Winnie Holzman, Marshall Herskovitz, Edward Zwick
MSCL’s influence on other series and comparisons to other series
MSCL’s place in TV history
MSCL and girl power
FFL (Fighting For Life) and OLS (Operation Life Support) in the struggle to save the series
MSCL’s web-based afterlife, including fan fiction
MSCL’s use of dreams and voice-overs
MSCL and “quality” TV
Literary and/or popular culture allusions on MSCL
MSCL and the study of girl cultures, youth cultures, subculture, and more
MSCL’s episodes (general and fantasy) and story arcs
MSCL’s characters and the actors who portrayed them
Fashion and style on MSCL (including discussions of Angela’s hair)
Music, bands, and the scene on MSCL
MSCL and audience studies
Reviews of MSCL
Mothers and daughters, father and daughters on MSCL
Studies of parenting and family on MSCL
The body on MSCL
MSCL’s use of language and voice
Studies of “realism” and “authenticity” on MSCL
Images of home on MSCL
Spaces, landscapes, and locations on MSCL
High school, education, and educators on MSCL
MSCL and representations of gender, racialization, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, class, etc.
Friendship on MSCL
Morality and authority on MSCL
Books about MSCL (and the MSCL books)
Food on MSCL
Sex on MSCL
Religion and/or politics on MSCL
Ethics and/or philosophy on/of MSCL
Adolescent and adult relationships on MSCL
Proposals are sought ASAP but will be accepted until March 20th, 2004. Please send your inquiries, complete submissions, or a proposal of no more than 750 words as an email attachment (.doc or .rtf) to the email below. Please include a short biography of yourself with your proposal. Essays chosen for final consideration must be completed by August 31st, 2004.
Dr. Michele Byers is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she teaches a variety of courses about the media and popular culture. She has written and published in the area of television studies, including the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (about which she wrote her doctoral thesis), My So-Called Life, Beverly Hills, 90210, and Party of Five. She is currently involved in a research project about the Degrassi series, Canadian television, youth culture and identity.
Dr. David Lavery is Professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University, where he teaches courses on American literature, science fiction, modern poetry, popular culture, and film. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of Late for the Sky: The Mentality of the Space Age (1992), Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks (1994), ‘Deny All Knowledge’: Reading The X-Files (1996), Fighting the Forces: What’s at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2002), Teleparody: Predicting/Preventing the TV Discourse of Tomorrow (2002), and This Thing of Ours: Investigating The Sopranos (2002).
Department of Sociology and Criminology
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia
(902) 420 5869 (P)
(920) 420 5121 (F)
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