The recent success of the Hollywood blockbusters The Hunger Games (2012) and The Avengers (2012) has prompted critical discussions about the commercial viability of action women in the global film market. The heroines featured in these ensemble casts have been credited with attracting female filmgoers to the theatre and boosting the box-office performance of their films — The Hunger Games earned $700 million worldwide while The Avengers has made over $1 billion at the box-office. The popular appeal of these films and the heroines featured within them has (re)opened the question as to whether these exists a (global) market for female-driven action films; in other words, can female-centered action narratives inspire comparable box-office returns to these ensemble cast action films?
This panel will take up this line of discussion and explore how contemporary action women negotiate heroic space in a genre that centers on male stars and masculine performance. Attentive to the history of the action genre and various cinematic traditions of action women, this panel encourages new approaches to the study of contemporary action women working in a range of national and transnational contexts. In particular, this panel is calling for papers that examine contemporary heroines in relation to the history of action women (in a particular tradition) and/or papers that utilize the recent wave of heroines as a springboard for the reconsideration of the significance/performance of previous action women.
Some possible topics include, but are not limited to:
• a comparative analysis of different (waves of) action women
• a consideration of female stars working in a range of industrial contexts
• the mobility and influence of stars and star images in the global film market
• the impact of production modes (e.g. co-productions) on the representation of heroines
• the influence of various media (e.g. videogames, fantasy novels) on cinematic heroines
Interested panelists should send a 300-word abstract and a brief author bio by August 1, 2012 to Dr. Lisa Funnell . Submitters will be notified by August 15th if their papers have been accepted.
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