NCA Preconference Call

NCA Preconference Call

Our (Monstrous) Legacies, Our (Cultural) Relevancies: Exploring the Significance of Monstrosity, Horror, and Otherness for Communication Studies

Organizers: Bernadette Marie Calafell, University of Denver and Kendall Phillips, Syracuse University

Lead Scholars
Bernadette Marie Calafell, University of Denver
Benny LeMaster, California State University, Long Beach
Marina Levina, University of Memphis
Casey Ryan Kelly, University of Nebraska
Kendall Phillips, Syracuse University
Claire Sisco King, Vanderbilt University

Recent years have seen the steady growth of scholarship in Communication Studies centered on unpacking the cultural relevance and persuasive strategies of horror films and television shows (Phillips, 2005, 2012; Sisco King, 2007; 2010; Levina & Diem-my, 2013; LeMaster, 2011; Means Coleman, 2011; Greene & Meyer, 2014, Lacy, 2015; Cady & Oates, 2016; Kelly, 2016, 2017; Abdi & Calafell, 2017). Simultaneously, another body of scholarship that focuses on monstrosity as a key term has also emerged as a frame for understanding social anxieties around Otherness (Moreman & Calafell, 2008; Juarez, 2014; Al-Ghabra, 2015; Calafell, 2012, 2015; Levina & Diem-my Bui, 2013; Holman Jones & Harris, 2016). This scholarship has contributed to and extended the interdisciplinary study of monsters by scholars, such as Cohen (1996), Gelder (2000), Creed (2002); Williams (2002), Clover (2002), Carroll (2002), Tudor (2002), Wood (2002), Ramirez-Berg (2012), Poole (2011), and Benshoff (1997; 2017).

Taking a historical perspective, Poole (2011) argues that monsters emerge in relationship to key historical events or moments. For example, giant creatures of the 1950s and 1960s, such as Godzilla or Mothra correlated with rising cultural anxieties surrounding the atomic bomb. Furthermore, Phillips (2005) unpacks the rhetorical significance of horror films in the twentieth century to consider how they reflect controversies of the historical moment. He argues Dracula reflected concerns and struggles over sexual norms, immigrants, religion, science, and economic conditions. In a later project, Phillips (2012) critically examines, through an auteur perspective, the work of directors Wes Craven, John Carpenter, and George Romero to unpack central themes around race, consumption, security, and class in films of each director as they relate to different cultural moments.
Other scholars, like Clover (2002), Creed (2002), Sisco King (2007), Calafell (2015), Kelly (2016), and Al-Ghabra (2015), further intercede in this dialogue to unpack the role of gender in horror films and television shows. Traditionally, women have been the victims of violence in horror. Williams (2002) pushes scholars to the consider the relationship of the female spectator to horror. Briefel (2005) argues that male monsters are connected to masochism, while female monsters are linked to menstruation, which causes audience members to feel “an uncomfortable close relationship to the female monster” (p. 16). Clover (2002) developed the term final girl to describe the female who survives the horror film and defeats the monster. She exhibits masculine traits and is often asexual. These characteristics allow her to survive, while more stereotypically feminine or sexual women are killed by the monster, often in violent and gory fashions. More recently, Calafell (2015) charts the move toward a critique of post-feminism in the films American Mary and The Lords of Salem against rising turns to nostalgia for the gender and racial norms of the 1950s and 1960s.

Just as horror has centered a masculine persona, it has also privileged narratives that support whiteness both ideologically, and in terms of racialized bodies. This has occurred through consistently white hero figures, killing off characters of color early on, and showcasing monsters that reflect themes of Otherness. Against these traditions, Means Coleman (2011) offers a history of horror through the lens of Blackness, charting representations of Black characters and monsters in horror films. Similarly, Lacy (2015) considers the Frankenstein’s monster narrative through Blackness. Benshoff (1997) and Sisco King (2010) examine the relationship between sexuality and monstrosity in horror films, while Holman Jones and Harris (2016) explore the queer potential of the monstrous. Offering a perspective of the monstrous feminine that moves away from Creed (2002) and the dominant tradition of psychoanalysis, Abdi and Calafell (2017) critically examine the Iranian Spaghetti Western, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, made by Iranian American director Ana Lily Amirpour to demonstrate how the film employs the frames of monstrous feminists and queer utopias to imagine possibilities for transnational feminist agency.

Monster theory, which is closely related to horror, utilizes monstrosity as a frame to theorize Otherness. Cohen (1996) offers seven theories of monster culture, including that the monster’s body is a “cultural space,” the monster brings category crisis, the monster dwells within difference, and the fear of the monster is connected to desire. This work has been influential in recent work, including Calafell (2015), which uses the trope to examine both horror texts, as well as performances of monstrosity in everyday life through studies of women of color in the academy, Kanye West, and the Aurora shooter James Holmes. This work demonstrates how monstrosity can be a space of agency and resistance for historically marginalized communities, and can be used as a trope to name destructive and violent forms of whiteness. For example, Dubrofsky (2016) draws upon Calafell’s (2015) work to consider the role of the monstrosity of whiteness in performances and rhetoric by then presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Given the contributions of scholarship on horror and monstrosity historically, its importance at this cultural moment, as well as the shift in popular culture toward monsters (i.e. Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster, Kanye West’s uses of monstrosity, American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Get Out, Black Mirror), it is a ripe time for us as Communication scholars to consider our legacy and our relevance in relationship to horror and monstrosity. As Communication scholars, we should ask: What unique contributions or theoretical frames can we offer to the study of horror and monstrosity? How do we constitute text in our study of horror and monstrosity? What unique methodologies might we employ to critically examine monstrosity (i.e. performative writing, autoethnograpy, archival research, intersectional critique)?

This day long preconference is organized around the following questions:

• What unique contributions or theoretical frames can we, as Communication scholars, offer to the study of horror and monstrosity?

• How do we constitute text in our study of horror and monstrosity? What unique methodologies might we employ to critically examine monstrosity (i.e. performative writing, autoethnograpy, archival research, intersectional critique)?

• What are the meanings around Otherness that emerged in representations of monstrosity in this contemporary political and cultural moment?

• How can we re-examine and re-visit historical moments through the lens of monstrosity to consider new ways of understanding? What new readings might be explored in the history of horror films?

• What are important future developments or directions that are emerging in the study of horror and monstrosity?

We would solicit short proposals (2-3 pages) from scholars interested in participating that speak to one of the questions listed above by August 15th, 2017. These proposals should be sent to Bernadette Calafell at Bernadette.Calafell@du.edu. We will organize the preconference thematically around these questions, allowing for scholars to present their work and receive feedback from other participants and the seminar leaders. Potential participants should indicate which question or theme they are interested in exploring. Rather than inviting lead scholars to present their scholarship while participants who sign up for the preconference serve as observers and questioners, as is often the tradition, we democratically would like to create an opportunity for both scholars new to the field, as well as those already immersed, to workshop their ideas. Ideally, participants would send a short paper (approximately 8-10 pages) to the seminar leaders before the convention. We encourage involvement from graduate students as well as scholars who would like to participate, but not present research.

It is our hope that this preconference will go beyond the conference through syllabus sharing, as well as the potential for collaboration through publication, such as an edited volume or special issue in a journal.

NCA GLBTQ Communication Studies Division Awards Call

Please share widely:
Overview of GLBTQ Division and Caucus Awards

The NCA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Communication Studies Division and Caucus on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns are pleased to announce annual awards for scholarship pertaining to the study of GLBTQ communication. We are interested in recognizing scholarship that: 1) advances our field’s understanding of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer communication studies; 2) makes a significant contribution to contemporary scholarship on GLBTQ populations and/or identities ; and 3) demonstrates intellectual rigor and mastery of the work’s chosen literature field and methodology. Each award will be evaluated by a panel of three GLBTQ scholars, comprised of the current chairs of the Division and the Caucus and one former winner of the award, appointed by the executive committee of the GLBTQ Division. Guidelines for nomination and submission for each award are outlined below.

Book of the Year Award

The Book of the Year Award recognizes one outstanding scholarly book advancing GLBTQ communication studies. To qualify for the award, the book must have been published in the last two calendar years (2013 or 2014). Nominations by NCA members as well as self-nominations will be accepted.

To apply for this award, please send a packet with the following items to the awards committee chair:
1) A letter of nomination detailing the merit of the book to be considered for the award. This should also provide publication information including the date of release and publishing press.
2) Three copies of the book for consideration.
3) Additional letters of support (no more than 5) from scholars in the field of communication speaking on the intellectual and academic merit of the book as it relates to GLBTQ communication scholarship.

Monograph of the Year Award

The Monograph of the Year Award recognizes up to three outstanding monographs/scholarly articles advancing GLBTQ communication scholarship. To qualify for the award, the essay must have been published in the last two calendar years (2013 or 2014). Nominations by NCA members as well as self-nominations will be accepted.

To apply for this award, please send a packet with the following items to the awards committee chair. Electronic copies/submissions in PDF format will be accepted and are encouraged:

1) A letter of nomination detailing the merit of the essay to be considered for the award. This should also provide publication information including the date of release and publishing press.
2) Three copies of the published essay for consideration (or a single electronic PDF copy if the nomination is an electronic submission).
3) Additional letters of support (no more than 5) from scholars in the field of communication speaking on the intellectual and academic merit of the essay as it relates to GLBTQ communication scholarship.

Dissertation of the Year Award

The Dissertation of the Year Award recognizes one outstanding dissertation advancing GLBTQ communication scholarship. To qualify for the award, the dissertation must have been approved and filed within the last two calendar years (2013 or 2014). Only self-nominations will be accepted.

To apply for this award, please send a packet with the following items to the awards committee chair. Electronic copies/submissions in PDF format will be accepted and are encouraged:
1) A letter of nomination detailing the merit of the dissertation to be considered for the award. This should also provide publication information including the defense and filing dates.
2) One full copy of the dissertation, as well as three copies of the chapter most representative of the claims outlined in the letter of nomination (a single electronic PDF copy of both items will be accepted).
3) Additional letters of support (no more than 3) from scholars in the field of communication speaking on the intellectual and academic merit of the dissertation as it relates to GLBTQ communication scholarship.

Application materials for all awards are due by FRIDAY, July 3rd. Submissions should be directed to Bernadette Marie Calafell, Ph.D., Communication Studies, University of Denver, 2000 E. Asbury Ave., Sturm 200, Denver, CO 80208. Electronic submission can be emailed to Bernadette.Calafell@du.edu and please indicate the name of the award in the subject line of the email.

Lilla A Heston Award Call

The Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies recognizes NCA members who have published research and creative scholarship in interpretation and performance studies. The award is given to authors of scholarship published during the previous three-year period. The date of copyright of the published material will serve as the date of publication. The recipient of the award will receive a plaque and a cash award from the Lilla A. Heston Award Fund.
Nominations must be sent to the selection committee chair by someone well acquainted with the scholarship.
Self-nominations are encouraged.

The nomination must include the following material (copies will not be returned):
• a cover letter specifying the scholarship (e.g., publisher or journal name,
publication date)
• a detailed rationale for why the scholarship should receive the award
• and when possible, three copies or examples of the scholarship.
Send nominations to:

Nominations should be sent as a Microsoft Word or PDF email attachment to Bernadette Calafell at bcalafel@du.edu by April 1st.

Committee Members
Bernadette Calafell, Chair
Kurt Lindemann
John Anderson

 

NCA GLBTQ Communication Studies Division CFP

General Call for GLBTQ Communication Studies Division

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Communication Studies Division invites submissions for NCA’s 100th Annual Convention. The theme for the convention is “the Presence of our Past(s)” which we can be read as a call to be reflexive about the past, present, and future of the GLBTQ Studies Division and its role within the National Communication Association. Although many of our submissions are centered in the communicative practices and/or representations of sexual and gender minorities, we are particularly interested in papers, performances, sessions, and panels that take an intersectional approach to GLBTQ studies, including those addressing the experiences of queer people of color, queerness and disability studies, and transgender identities.

As part of the 100th anniversary we are also interested in panels that take stock of our history and scholarship that has advanced the discipline. Some question or themes these panels might explore are: What role have people of color and qpoc scholarship played in the GLBTQ Communication Studies Division?  What scholarship produced by members of our Division greatly advanced academic research and conversations? How has scholarship produced by and about queer, bisexual, transgender, and lesbian women helped to transform the face of the GLBTQ Communication Studies Division? Submissions that take stock of our history or scholarship may take the form of panels dedicated to specific research articles or issues. Additionally, the division welcomes all methodological and theoretical perspectives as well as papers, performances, and panels conversant across the other units of our organization. Please note: Applicants can submit one and only one paper or performance in which they are the primary author of the work.

The deadline for submissions is March 26th 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time at the NCA Submission Central Website.

Competitive Submissions Guidelines

Individual paper submissions should:

  • include a title and a description of no more than 300 words;
  • identify all authors(s);
  • list three keywords;
  • upload a copy of the paper, not to exceed 30 pages (12 point font), including notes, references, figures, and/or tables;
  • not identify the author(s) anywhere in the description or the uploaded essay (student papers should be designated as “student authored” in the electronic submission process); and,
  • indicate whether or not the author(s) would be willing to present in the Scholar to Scholar (S2S) sessions by checking the appropriate agreement box.

Paper session proposals should:

  • provide a title for the session;
  • craft a session description for the convention program (less than 75 words);
  • enter a session chair (required) and respondent (optional);
  • include the title, description (less than 500 words), and author(s) for each paper presentation;
  • list three keywords; and,
  • provide a rationale for the session (less than 1000 words).

Panel discussion proposals or performance centered panels should:

  • provide a title for the panel discussion;
  • craft a session description for the convention program (less than 75 words);
  • enter a list of discussants and a session chair (required); and,
  • provide a rationale for the panel or performance, including each discussant’s qualifications to address the proposed topics (less than 1000 words).

Performance session proposals should:

  • provide a title for the session;
  • craft a session description for the convention program (less than 75 words);
  • enter a session chair (required) and respondent (optional);
  • include the title, description (less than 500 words), and performer(s) for each performance; and,
  • provide a rationale for the session (less than 1000 words).

ALL AV (audio/visual) requests must be made at the time of submission.

All submitters are encouraged to review the Professional Standards for Convention Participants prior to submission. Helpful resources, including live and recorded step-by-step instructions on how to submit, are available in the Convention Library

Each submission should be made to one unit only.

If you have any questions about the submission process, please contact the unit planner, Bernadette Marie Calafell at bcalafel@du.edu.