deadline for submissions: 
October 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Popular Culture Association

The Soap Opera and Serialized Television Area of the Popular Culture Association (PCA) is actively encouraging the submissions of proposals for its 2018 Conference to be held March 28 – 31 in Indianapolis, IN.

Soap Operas, a mainstay of popular culture in the US and internationally, are grounded in the serialized nature of their storytelling.  While many traditional and long-running network soap operas have declined in viewership or left the airwaves in recent years, serialized storytelling is alive and well in everything from reality television to HBO shows to primetime and cable series.  Video game franchises, webisodes, and even advertising campaigns have harnessed the power and popularity of the serialized form to build and sustain audiences in our increasingly fractured media landscape.

The Soap Opera and Serialized Storytelling Area invites proposals addressing all aspects of this important and vibrant form of storytelling from a variety of approaches.  Possible areas of investigation include:  

  • Ways in which serialized narrative is utilized by storytellers in network, cable, payTV and streaming series such as: Game of Thrones, Deuce, Empire, Orange is the New Black, Transparent, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Walking Dead, Big Little Lies, House of Cards, American Horror Story, 13 Reasons Why.
    • Manipulation of particular storylines/causalities/characterizations.
    • Character construction and identity management.
    • Responses to social media activity by viewers/superfans.
    • Cliffhanger construction to eliminate “churn” (for subscription services) or seasonal declines in viewership.
  • Studies of particular shows/storylines from current daytime soaps (Young and the Restless, Bold and Beautiful, General Hospital, Days of our Lives) or iconic soaps no longer on the air (Guiding Light, All My Children, As the World Turns, Another World, Dark Shadows (and many others.))
  • Considerations of serialized genres and international forms such as the telenovela, their popularity and viewership across national boundaries; ways in which certain actors (Sofia Vergara) have transitioned across borders and genres.
  • Examinations of how media companies are managing the intellectual property of their legacy soap brands, the “state of” industrial practices surrounding soaps and possible “shadow soaps” such as Empire.
  • Considerations of how viewers continue to respond to the serialized form – through viewership and active engagement through social media, online forums as well as the new forms of engagement producers are pioneering – Talking Dead and cast/director Twitter forums, for example.

All perspectives and investigations are welcome, including interdisciplinary examinations of seriality as a narrative form. Please note that only an abstract is required for the proposal so work in progress is certainly welcome.

Please submit your proposal directly on the database at

Please send all inquires or questions to:

Dr. MJ Robinson, Area chair, Serialized Television and Soap Opera, Popular Culture Association

Department of TV and Radio
Brooklyn College / CUNY
2900 Bedford Avenue. Whitehead 304
Brooklyn, NY 11201