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“I Want My Paranormal TV” CFP

I want to share an exciting call for papers written by Fembot affiliate, Drew Beard, for the 2012 Console-ing Passions conference that will be held in Boston.


“I Want my Paranormal TV”: Negotiations with the Dead (and Undead) on the Smaller Screen

            Annette Hill, in Paranormal Media: Audiences, Spirits and Magic in Popular Culture, observes that in recent years, paranormal beliefs have entered the mainstream. Indeed, the past decade has reflected this proliferation across media, from paranormal romance fiction (in the form of the Twilight series and its many imitators) to a resurgence in the paranormal horror film, witnessed in the success of such films as Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli, 2007) and Insidious (James Wan, 2011). However, television has proven a particularly beneficial medium for paranormal narratives and negotiations of belief, particularly (but not limited to) dramas (True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, The Walking Dead) and reality television (Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State). As a panel, “I Want my Paranormal TV” investigates the unique relationship between television and the paranormal, as well as its connections to the horror genre and the possibilities it offers in terms of narrative, genre, representation, aesthetics, and more.

            Please note that at this early stage, I am intentionally keeping this CFP rather broad in scope in order to encourage a diverse series of submissions. Upon the review of submitted abstracts, I will refine the panel rationale based on panelist interests and approaches.

Possible topics/approaches to paranormal television may include:

Intersections between horror and melodrama

Generic hybridity

Representations of gender and sexuality

Representations of social class and race, including whiteness

Convergences between the horror genre and reality TV, particularly its imperatives of surveillance

Reception/audience studies

Relationship between the paranormal and television as a medium/apparatus

Historical approaches (previous manifestations of the paranormal on TV)


Abstracts should be approximately 500 words in length, and accompanied by a short biography of the author. Please email your abstract as a .doc file to Drew Beard (abeard3@uoregon.edu) by December 1, 2011. You will be notified of acceptance no later than December 5, 2011.