CFP: (Edited Collection) Discourses on the State of Soap Opera in a Digital Age
CFP: Discourses on the State of Soap Opera in a Digital Age
Editors: Abigail Derecho (Columbia College Chicago) and Sam Ford (MIT)
We are looking for contributions to an edited collection examining the current state of one of the staple genres of United States television: the daytime serial drama. This collection aims to collect essays focusing on a diverse range of topics about the soap opera industry, soap characters and storylines, soap opera audiences, cross-cultural consumption of soaps, and the history of the genre, all focusing in some way on the current state of the genre.
Soap operas are among the longest-running programs in the television industry, with most of these narratives taking places over many decades. Often called “worlds without end,” the future of these shows is increasingly under question as ratings have continued to spiral downward for the genre. A range of cultural, economic, technological, and artistic causes have been blamed for the dwindling popularity of soaps: the movement of more women into the workforce, bad storytelling, the proliferation of television and other media content, the preemption of soap operas caused by the O.J. Simpson trial in the mid-1990s, and the incorporation of serialized storytelling in primetime. This collection seeks to examine how soap operas remain relevant in the lives of millions of Americans and what unique aspects of these texts make them historically significant and the source of particularly engaged audiences.
This project currently has interest from two university presses and a lineup of contributors for original essays and interviews which includes Robert C. Allen, Nancy Baym, Denise Bielby, Lee Harrington, Elana Levine, Lynn Liccardo, Tania Modleski, Martha Nochimson, Louise Spence, and Mary Cassata and Barbara Irwin of Project Daytime.
Contributions for this edited collection will look at issues such as:
* Comparisons between daytime serial dramas and other forms of television, such as primetime dramas and reality television
* The influence of telenovelas and other international media products on U.S. soaps
* The influence of U.S. soaps on global media products, and U.S. soaps in global contexts
* Effects of alternate distribution of soaps, such as the DirecTV/Passions deal, SOAPnet, Web streaming, and fan distribution of the archives through tape trading and sites like YouTube
* The unique attributes of existing soap opera texts
* Transmedia storytelling in soaps
* Shifts in the production of soaps
* Analysis of contemporary soap opera characters and stories
* Historical comparisons with the contemporary soap opera industry
* Issues of gender, age, race, class, and disability in soaps
* Soap opera fan fiction
* Fan archiving and proselytizing
* Fan discussion boards
Essays are encouraged from all disciplines as well as outside the academy. We are looking for shorter essays of 3,000 words or less and larger essays from 3,000 to 8,000 words. Authors should submit abstracts of 500 words by Nov. 1, 2007, along with a brief bio. Selected authors will be notified by November 15; first drafts of essays will be due on March 25, 2008. Send your proposal, or any questions about the project, to Sam Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org or Abigail Derecho at email@example.com.
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