Call for chapters: Edited collection 'WOKE TV: Politically Alert Television in the Trump, BLM, and Post-#MeToo Era

Call for chapters: Edited collection WOKE TV: Politically Alert Television in the Trump, BLM, and Post-#MeToo Era


*"WOKE TV: Politically Alert Television in the Trump, BLM, and

Post-#MeToo Era"***

*DEADLINE: NOV 1, 2020.***


*Debate around 'woke television' has been increasingly more present in

popular parlance. Within television criticism, there has been heavy

reflecting on (and co-constructing of) a meta-genre of contemporary US

television characterized by a particular sensitization to issues of

social justice, racial justice, and gender equity and a showcasing of

commitment toward denouncing institutional ideologies such as structural

poverty, white supremacy, and patriarchy. Indeed, a swell of popular

criticism has been quick to discern the micro-contexts of politically

alert television fiction, discussing for instance African-American

history and white privilege in /Atlanta/ and /Dear White People/,

diversity in /Star Trek/, progressive reimaginings of classic shows such

as /Buffy/ and /Charmed/, the gender-swap in /Doctor Who/, LGBTQ

pedagogy in the revival of /Will & Grace/, multidimensional female

characters in /Glow/, complex and unapologetic teen sexuality in /Normal

People/, /Big Mouth/ and /Sex Education/. These instances inform the

notion of "woke television" as the inclusion of relevant and topical

themes, blatantly calling out structural inequalities and delivering

cultural texts that reify the pleasures and intricacies of 'woke culture.'

Apart from celebrating contemporary television's bold engagement with

social, racial and gender-related issues, popular critical writing has

simultaneously questioned the transformative and empowering implications

of woke television, recognizing issues such as the ideological ambiguity

of feminist shows (including the impossible-to-ignore whiteness of

critically acclaimed /The Handmaid's Tale/ and the poshness of

/Fleabag/), as well as the problematic representational strategies of

gendered violence and rape (for example, in /13 Reasons Why/)/.

/Concurrently, the popular press has engaged in debates that challenge

the legacy of some of television's most revered cultural monuments, by

exposing for example the problematic layers of shows such as

/Friends/ and /Sex and the City/. Criticisms of this kind discuss

'wokeness' not only within today's cultural zeitgeist, but also as a

rejuvenating source for contemporary television criticism, thus

revealing a climate of close monitoring of television production and

heightened expectations from entertainment—and one that specifically

invites viewers to position themselves with regard to that wokeness.

'Wokeness' is not only addressed as a textual feature of contemporary

television but also as part of particular production logic seeking to

accommodate audiences in the Trump, BLM, and post-#MeToo era; as such,

it genuflects to their needs for more complex takes on everyday

realities and experiences, ones that are not exclusively tainted by the

requirements of the 'majority white' viewers. Industrial perspectives,

including Netflix's commitment to inclusion and diversity and BBC's

strategy of "repurposing" classic novels to cater to contemporary

television audiences, reveal a commitment to discussing and advancing

social change within the industry itself. However, audiences' reactions

have been ambivalent: ranging from discovering newfound pleasures to

complaining about how contemporary television reeks of didacticism and

political correctness.

As little attention has been directed toward the concept of woke

television within academia, /Woke TV/ aims to gather contributions that

further explore how expressions of woke culture translate into the world

of television narrative and representation, but also in dimensions of

production and reception. This collection is primarily interested in

navigating the context of US television; however, studies based on other

national/cultural contexts will also be considered. We seek to engage

with the following lines of inquiry: (a) industry perspectives, (b)

textual (representational/discursive) approaches, (c) issues of audience

reception, as well as (d) issues of critical reception. Possible topics

include, but are not limited to, the following:

* white privilege and racism-as-problem narratives (/Dear White

People, Atlanta, Gentefied/)

* revisiting/rewriting history (/Glow/, /Hollywood/)

* strong women characters and female camaraderie (/Orange Is the New


* quirky femininity (/Insecure/, /Broad City/)

* toxic (but self-reflective) masculinity (/BoJack Horseman/)

* woke teen TV (/Euphoria/, /Sex Education/, /Big Mouth/, /Never Have

I Ever/)

* woke reboots/revivals (/Will & Grace/, /The L Word Gen Q/)

* retrospective criticism (/Friends, Sex and the City,/ etc. and


* woke TV as queer pedagogy

* LGBTQIA+ superheroes

* industry perspectives such as specific production logics/strategies,

questions of casting, programming etc.

* woke TV before 'woke TV'

* woke TV in international contexts

* woke TV and its audiences

* woke TV in popular criticism

* woke TV and woke capitalism (e.g., woke advertising)

*Deadline for proposals: November 1, 2020***

*Notification of acceptance: November 15, 2020***

*Deadline for first drafts: February 15, 2021*

How to Submit Your Proposal:

Please submit one-page abstracts/proposals to either Georgia Aitaki

( ) or Lauren J.

DeCarvalho ( )

by November 1, 2020 and be sure to include both a tentative title and

short biographical note.

About the Editors:

Georgia Aitaki is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication at Örebro

University, Sweden.

Lauren J. DeCarvalho is an Assistant Professor in the Department of

Media, Film and Journalism Studies at the University of Denver, USA.

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