Category Archives: Calls for Papers and Proposals

Calls for Papers and Proposals

At home with horror? Terror on the small screen

deadline for submissions:
June 30, 2017
full name / name of organization:
The Melodrama Research Group/University of Kent
contact email:

The Melodrama Research Group presents:

At home with horror? Terror on the small screen

27th-28th October 2017

University of Kent

Keynote speaker: Dr Helen Wheatley (University of Warwick)


The recent horror output on TV and the small screen challenges what Matt Hills found to be the overriding assumption ‘that film is the [horror] genre’s ‘natural’ home’ (Hills 2005, 111). Programmes such as American Horror Story, Penny Dreadful and The Walking Dead are aligned to ‘‘quality TV’, yet use horror imagery and ideas to present a form and style of television that is ‘not ordinary’’ (Johnston 2016, 11). Developments in industrial practices and production technology have resulted in a more spectacular horror in the medium, which Hills argues is the ‘making cinematic’ of television drama (Hills 2010, 23). The generic hybridity of television programmes such as Whitechapel, and Ripper Street allow conventions of the horror genre to be employed within the narrative and aesthetics, creating new possibilities for the animation of horror on the small screen. Series such as Bates Motel and Scream adapt cinematic horror to a serial format, positioning the small screen (including terrestrial, satellite and online formats) as the new home for horror.

The history of television and horror has often displayed a problematic relationship. As a medium that operates within a domestic setting, television has previously been viewed as incompatible with ‘authentic’ horror. Television has been approached as incapable of mobilizing the intense audience reactions associated with the genre and seen as a medium ‘restricted’ in its ability to scare and horrify audiences partly due to censorship constraints (Waller 1987) and scheduling arrangements. Such industrial practices have been seen as tempering the genre’s aesthetic agency resulting in inferior cinematic imitations or, ‘degraded made-for-TV sequels’ (Waller 1987, 146). For Waller, the technology of television compounded the medium’s ability to animate horror and directed its initial move towards a more ‘restrained’ form of the genre such as adapting literary ghost stories and screening RKO productions of the 1940s (Ibid 1987). Inferior quality of colour and resolution provided the opportunity to suggest rather than show. Horror, then, has presented a challenge for television: how can the genre be positioned in such a family orientated and domesticated medium? As Hills explains, ‘In such a context, horror is conceptualised as a genre that calls for non- prime-time scheduling… and [thus] automatically excluded from attracting a mass audience despite the popularity of the genre in other media’ (Hills 2005, 118).

Helen Wheatley’s monograph, Gothic Television (2006), challenges the approach of television as a limiting medium for horror, and instead focuses on how the domestic setting of the television set is key to its effectiveness.  Focusing on the female Gothic as a domestic genre, Wheatley draws a lineage from early literary works, to the 1940s cycle of Gothic women films and Gothic television of the 1950s onwards. Wheatley argues for the significance of the domestic setting in experiencing stories of domestic anxiety for, ‘the aims of the Gothic drama made for television [are] to suggest a congruence between the domestic spaces on the screen and the domestic reception context’ (Wheatley 2006, 191).

Developments in small screen horror are not restricted to contemporary output. In his work on the cultural history of horror, Mark Jancovich argues that it was on television in the 1990s where key developments in the genre were taking place (Jancovich 2002). Taking Jancovich’s work as a cue, Hills develops his own approach to the significance of horror television of the 1990s. Hills cites Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X Files as examples of programmes striving to mobilise the genre’s more graphic elements while existing as a ‘high-end’ cultural product: ‘authored’ TV that targeted a niche fan audience (Hills 2005, 126).

Taking these recent developments into account, the aim of this conference is to engage with such advances. Can we say that it is on the small screen where critical and creative innovations in horror are now being made? How has the expansion of satellite television and online sites impacted on the genre? How has the small screen format developed the possibilities of horror? Is the recent alignment with ‘quality TV’ evidence of horror’s new mainstream status? This conference will also reflect on seminal works on television horror and revisit the history of the genre. In addressing these questions the conference will underline the importance of the small screen for horror, within the study of the genre and of the medium, and ask: is the small screen now the home of horror?

Topics can include but are not limited to:

  • The seasons and horror on the small screen
  • Gothic television
  • Gender and horror
  • Historical figures and events in small screen horror
  • Small screen horror as an ‘event’
  • Adaptation from cinema to small screen ‘re-imaginings’
  • Production contexts
  • Censorship and the small screen
  • Serialisation and horror production
  • National television production of horror
  • The impact of Netflix and Amazon Prime
  • TV history and horror
  • Literary adaptations
  • Children’s TV and horror
  • Genre hybridity
  • Fandom
  • Teen horror
  • Stardom and horror


Please submit proposals of 400 words, along with a short biographical note (250 words) to by Friday 30th June 2017. We welcome 20 minute conference papers as well as submissions for creative work or practice-as-research including, but not limited to, short films and video essays.


Conference organisers: Katerina Flint-Nicol and Ann-Marie Fleming

Representing “Home:” The 2017 Film & History Conference

CFP: Melodrama: Home is Where the Heart Is

An area of multiple panels for the 2017 Film & History Conference
Representing “Home”: The Real and Imagined Spaces of Belonging
The Hilton Milwaukee City Center, Milwaukee, WI (USA)
November 1-November 5, 2017

DEADLINE for abstracts: Early acceptance: June 1, 2017; General acceptance: July 1, 2017

Melodrama, in the words of Ben Singer, is a topic that “[remains] close to the heart and hearth.” From the maternal melodramas of the 1930s and 1940s (Stella Dallas, Mildred Pierce) to the great family melodramas of the 1950s by filmmakers such as Nicholas Ray, Vincente Minnelli, and Douglas Sirk, the genre was known for stylistic excess, overwrought emotion, and tales of tears, maternal sacrifice, and desperate domesticity.

How have our understandings of these classic films so closely tied to “home” shifted over time? How has the melodrama come to be seen not as a single genre, but as the underlying mode of mainstream American cinema—encompassing practically every genre? What does it mean that the fundamental traits of melodrama—pathos, wronged victims, the loss of innocence, nostalgia for the past, and stark moral conflicts—have come to be understood as the bedrock not only of American cinema, but much of American culture and politics more generally?

This area invites 20-minute papers (inclusive of visual presentations) on melodrama. Topics include, but are not limited to:

• Family, or domestic, melodramas
• The idea of the melodramatic home as a “space of innocence.”
• New takes on classic family melodramas, such as Home from the Hill, Written on the Wind, Imitation of Life, Splendor in the Grass, Bigger than Life
• The maternal melodrama (from Stella Dallas to Thirteen)
• Melodrama and film style
• Melodramatic stars
• Soap operas (daytime or primetime, older or more recent)
• Melos (music) + drama
• Melodrama auteurs
• Melodrama and race
• The history of melodrama within film studies
• The melodramatic underpinnings of any genre
• Melodrama and global cinema

Proposals for complete panels (three related presentations) are also welcome, but they must include an abstract and contact information, including an e-mail address, for each presenter. For updates and registration information about the upcoming meeting, see the Film & History website (

Please e-mail your 200-word proposal to the area chair:

Chad Newsom
Savannah College of Art and Design

Call for Authors-Abstracts, Papers

Call for Authors-Abstracts, Papers

Submit: October 2016-January 30, 2017

Television Drama, Melodrama & Social Media Audiences: Examining Gender, Race, Emotion, & Violence

Editors: Diana I. Rios, Univ. of Connecticut, Jaime Gomez, Eastern Conn. State Univ., Ross Buck, Univ. of Connecticut

Book Description: Dramatic and melodramatic programs motivate viewers to engage with powerful characters and flourishing narratives. TV and media series, are available through many platforms and are rife with content that simultaneously shape and support normative expectations about gender roles, sexualities, race, and agents of violence as well as contradict or redirect emotions such as fear, hope and desire. Social media such as Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, etc. provide spaces where audiences can vent. They post their reactions, create character art, pay homage, target frustration at producers, writers, show-runners, and other fans for breaking unspoken trusts, and extend stories about beloved characters through fan fiction micro-blogs. Also, media cross global borders through legacy TV, cable, satellite, apps, and sites. Accessibility to media allows audiences from diverse global locations to become anonymous members of loosely woven, cross-cultural, star-struck, fan groups and even haters of scenes, episodes and story developments.

Abstract: Alone is Acceptable: 300 words max., APA style.
Paper: 20 pp. max., plus refs., no endnotes, no footnotes, APA style.


Why: Because you analyze local or global TV programs and would like to share your insights with the academic world.