Thursday, June 11, 2009

CFP Alert: Science Fiction in Children's Film and Television

Found this on the UPenn English CFP list, and thought it might be of interest to some - a CFP (deadline recently extended to July 15th) on scifi in kids' television and film. Very interesting idea, and it's true...there is a definite gap in the literature that this book could potentially fill quite nicely. Here are the details, reprinted from the UPenn site:
Science Fiction in Children's Film and Television (Deadline Extended to 7/15/09)
R.C. Neighbors and Sandy Rankin/University of Arkansas
contact email: childrens-scifi@hotmail.com

It has often been said that science fiction is a literature of ideas. Through the use of familiar tropes, such as spaceships, aliens, and ray guns, the genre uses the future (and sometimes the past) to comment on the present--on current social, cultural, and political ideologies. Likewise, media directed at children often focus on advocating or criticizing similar ideologies, sometimes for a didactic purpose. It is interesting, then, that so little has been said about the joining of these two genres--children's science fiction--particularly when dealing with the visual media of film and television.

Toward this end, the proposed essay anthology To Infinity and Beyond: Science Fiction in Children's Film and Television will attempt to fill this gap in scholarship. It will primarily deal with how children's visual media use science fiction to promote or discourage certain ideologies. However, essays on other issues dealing with science fiction in children's programming--such as the encoding of science fiction tropes in children's media, conversations between children's film/TV and adult science fiction, science fictional elements in other genres, and the growing popularity of science fiction in children's visual media, etc--will be considered. A publisher has already shown interest in the collection.

Topics of Particular Interest

Lilo and Stitch
Flubber
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
Dexter's Laboratory
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Transformers
Land of the Lost
Lost in Space

Brain (from Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain)
We have already received many excellent proposals (including several over Doctor Who and the film Wall-E) and are looking for a few more to round out the collection. If interested in contributing to the collection, please send your CV and a 300-500 word abstract to R.C. Neighbors and Sandy Rankin (childrens-scifi@hotmail.com) by July 15th. (If a draft of the essay is already completed, please send it along with the other materials.) Graduate student submissions are welcome.

So many cool opportunities, so little time. Immediate ideas include Muppets from Space, Atomic Betty, Astro Boy, Futurama (which just got "renewed"!), Zixx Level Three and some sort of reworking of my co-authored paper with Neil Narine analyzing films depicting child gamers (which included quite a few sci-fi pics, The Last Starfighter, Flight of the Navigator, etc.). I'm not sure I'll have a chance to submit something, but it is nonetheless a very compelling idea for an edited collection.

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