What, when & where
Contemporary American Science Fiction Film: The Bush, Obama and Trump Years
Since the turn of the millennium the United States of America has undergone what many have considered to be a series of political, financial, and institutional crises. At the same time, the increasing popularity of the science fiction genre has, in many ways, frequently both dramatized and provided a commentary on the fears and anxieties this period has evoked. The philosopher and cultural critic Walter Benjamin argued that allegory emerges most frequently in periods of crisis and uncertainty, correspondingly it is no coincidence that some of the most powerful films to emerge from American cinema in the last two decades are allegorical texts and many of which have come from the science fiction genre. What are they able to tell us about the turbulent times in which they were made? How might they be uniquely positioned to function as cultural artefacts intrinsically connected to their historical moments? How do the fears and anxieties they portray resonate beyond the frames of the screens?
With this in mind we are seeking scholarly, research informed and dynamic chapter-length contributions to an edited volume on the topic of the contemporary science-fiction genre in American film. This collection of essays will examine and explore how recent films have reflected, portrayed and interrogated the social, political and cultural climate of this fractious period during the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Topics for consideration may include, but are not limited to:
Allegories of 9/11 and the War on Terror
The threat of invasion: Aliens, immigration and border crossings
Disaster narratives: Mass extinctions, climate change and environmental damage
The post-human body and the rise of artificial intelligence
Young Adult dystopias
Representations of political and social resistance
Gendered nostalgia (with reference to movements such as #MeToo)
Nostalgia and contemporary political phenomena
Memory (e.g. false memories, artificial memories, memory transfer/erasure)
Alien Others: Race in the science fiction film
Global financial collapse
Cultures of science fiction fandom
The im/possibility of making America great again
Films for consideration may include, but are not limited to:
A Scanner Darkly (Linklater, 2006), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Spielberg, 2001), Avatar (Cameron, 2009), Children of Men (Cuarón, 2006), Cloverfield (Reeves, 2008), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Reeves, 2014), Donnie Darko (Kelly, 2001), Dredd (Travis, 2012), Edge of Tomorrow (Liman, 2014), Elysium (Blomkamp, 2013), Equilibrium (Wimmer, 2002), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry, 2005), Ex Machina (Garland, 2014), Gravity (Cuarón, 2013), Her (Jonze, 2013), The Hunger Games (Ross, 2012), Jurassic World (Trevorrow, 2015), I am Legend (Proyas, 2007), Inception (Nolan, 2010), Interstellar (Nolan, 2014), I Robot (Proyas, 2004), Looper (Johnson, 2012), Mad Max: Fury Road (Miller, 2015), Monsters (Edwards, 2010), Minority Report (Spielberg, 2002), Moon (Jones, 2009), Oblivion (Kosinski, 2013), Primer (Caruth, 2004), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Wyatt, 2011), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Edwards, 2016), Safety Not Guaranteed (Trevorrow, 2012), Serenity (Whedon, 2005), Signs (Shyamalan, 2002), Snowpiercer (Joon-ho, 2013), Source Code (Jones, 2011), Star Trek (Abrams, 2009), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Abrams, 2015), Super 8 (Abrams, 2011), The Day After Tomorrow (Emmerich, 2004), The Road (Hillcoat, 2009), The Martian (Scott, 2015), V for Vendetta (McTeigue, 2005), War of the Worlds (Spielberg, 2005), War for the Planet of the Apes (Reeves, 2017), Wall-E (Stanton, 2008).
Deadline & how to apply
Deadline: 31st May 2019
Draft chapters of 7,000 – 8,000 words are due on or before 31st December 2019. Final versions no later than 31st March 2020. Anticipated publication December 2020-January 2021, i.e. at the start of the new REF cycle.
Please send 500-word proposals (including a provisional title), along with a CV, to Stuart Joy (email@example.com) by May 31, 2019.
Other info, Links & conditions
Dr Stuart Joy, Solent University & Dr Terence McSweeney, Solent University, firstname.lastname@example.org
see more job opportunities.