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Welcome to our site! The Melodrama Research Consortium (MRC) is an international organization established in 2013 to foster interdisciplinary and collaborative research on the global history of stage, film, television, and new media melodrama.

The need for such a group is now pressing: over the past few decades, scholars working in a wide and diverse range of fields all across the humanities have come to realize that melodrama, once considered a marginal dramatic form, is–and has been for some time–the dominant narrative form of modern mass culture worldwide.  Its history, long neglected, has begun to be recovered, and we have found in it the record of a startling, almost pandemic process of diffusion, development, and growth.  Melodrama’s history is a world history, and one that involves all cultures, mediums, and modes.  To understand it, we must study it in that way.

Our membership includes more than eighty scholars, at all levels, working across a broad range of disciplines and areas of specialization.  Our goal is to gain the inclusion of all those whose research bears on the topic today, and we welcome everyone in the scholarly community whose work is concerned with melodrama in any way.  Please join us.

We are now organizing a calendar of events, which will, we hope, include many local and regional gatherings.  We invite ideas and proposals for those and will provide whatever assistance we can. We are also in the early planning stages of the MRC’s first organizational conference, which is to be held at Rutgers University. For the inaugural conference, too, we welcome ideas and proposals.

The MRC has also begun its first collaborative initiative, the Melodrama Database Project (MDP), which has as its aim the creation of a comprehensive, open-platform database of international stage, film, television, and new media melodrama.  The MDP now involves the work of more than thirty of our members, and we have begun to form data collection networks and database design teams.  Our initial goal is quite simple: a shared meta-data catalogue of works that would enable broad, intermedial, cross-period, and interdisciplinary study.  We welcome the participation of anyone who wishes to be involved in this project, and we will offer support and assistance for local grant proposals to carry out portions of the effort.

In order to obtain financial support for the MRC and its activities, our Funding Group has begun to plan and prepare to apply for large, multi-year grants for initiatives of this kind (e.g., NEH, ERC, and AHRC programs).  We welcome the participation of any of our members in those efforts.

Our website is nascent, and provides only an introduction to the consortium, our members, programs, and projects, and information about how to join and how to become involved.  We hope that the site will serve as an active forum for announcements and queries, a source of news about activities and events in the field, and a resource for information about existing and new scholarship.  Contributions, advice, and assistance from members will be gratefully received.


This site was last updated on the 19th of October, 2016.