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Dossier for Film Matters: ‘Race, Gender and Genre in 21st Century Cinema’


Call for Papers: ‘Race, Gender and Genre in 21st Century Cinema’

Dossier for Film Matters

This call is to solicit essays – from St Andrews undergraduate scholars – for a Film Matters dossier on contemporary (post-2000) genre cinema, to be published in issue 8.3 (winter 2017). We are looking for papers (research essays, film reviews, interviews) that engage with questions concerning race, gender and genre.

Genre is an omnipresent factor in cinema, with generic categories such as horror, romantic comedy and action film used to cue audience expectations and influence our personal selection of films. Genre is equally important to the film industry, where it influences what films are financed and how films are marketed. With a focus on 21st century cinema, this dossier will consider how genre relates to issues of racial and gender representation.

For example, how might we examine shifts in gender representation within conventionally ‘male’ or ‘female’ genres (such as the trend for male-focused romantic-comedies, or female-focused westerns)? Do westerns and fantasy films continue to be notable for their lack of racial diversity? What is the relationship between genre and the recent trend for gender-switching remakes, such as Ghostbusters? In what ways do superhero films tend to represent, or marginalise, female characters? And how might we relate ‘whitewash’ casting choices to genre films’ desire to reach a mass audience?

Given that generic components are found in a range of world cinemas, might we be able to identify differences in the way that race and gender are treated based on specific locations and cultural contexts? Furthermore, looking outside of cinema, to what extent does the treatment of genre on television provide a more inclusive space for women and people of colour?

In light of these developments, or lack thereof, authors may consider whether earlier genre scholarship remains relevant and useful to contemporary studies of race, gender and genre. For instance, authors might choose to interpret these developments as examples of genre’s tendency to evolve over time, in order to reflect broader changes in culture and society.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

* Case studies of promotional campaigns and the visual representation of race and/or gender

* Reception-based case studies

* Topic-related interviews with film scholars, filmmakers or producers

* Genre and gender-switch remakes (such as Ghostbusters and Ocean’s Eight)

* The rise of the female-focused western

* ‘Bromances’ and representation of men and masculinity in romantic comedies

* Studies of ‘whitewashing’ when casting genre films

* Issues of ageing, gender and genre (for example, the use of ageing male action heroes)


Research papers should be 3000-4000 words in length (submissions from Honours students are encouraged)

Film reviews and interviews should be 1000-2000 words in length (submissions from sub-Honours students are also encouraged) Please submit your work to Jennifer O’Meara (jo42@st-andrews.ac.uk) by February 10, 2017. Inquiries regarding potential topics are also welcome.

About Film Matters: Film Matters is a film journal celebrating the work of undergraduate film scholars. It is published three times a year, by students and for students, and each issue contains feature articles and reviews. In an effort to give undergraduate scholars real-world, applied learning experiences, all Film Matters research papers undergo a peer review process.