Radical Romantic Comedy (Special Issue of New Review of Film and Television Studies)

deadline for submissions: 
May 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Maria San Filippo / Goucher College

Call for Papers: “Radical Romantic Comedy,” Special Issue of New Review of Film and Television Studies

In the seminal 1993 collection Queer Looks, B. Ruby Rich contends that, “The advantage of romance as a launching pad for political engagement is that it carries built-in optimism, just possibly enough to move ahead in these times of race-hatred and scapegoating.” Clearly, Rich’s words resonate all too powerfully today, and encourage us to reassess the political potential of romantic comedy. To the question posed by film critic Amy Nicholson in her 2014 article “Who Killed the Romantic Comedy?”, this special issue will offer its own optimistic appeal to the continuing vitality of romantic comedy, in revisionist modes and forms that reimagine and rejuvenate the genre by representing romance radically. Despite being among the most consistently popular and profitable of film genres, romantic comedy remains critically underappreciated and academically under-examined, and still largely defined within parameters of Hollywood and heteronormativity (or, increasingly, homonormativity). Seeking to conceptualize the romantic comedy and the romantic couple (or throuple, or…) more broadly, this special issue will focus on unconventional treatments of romcom tropes and traditions, works that disrupt and subvert romcom fantasy and formula and that reveal the realities and complexities of intimacy. We invite papers that conceive of romantic comedy inclusively and innovatively, with the aim of incorporating diverse approaches and intersectional concerns in analyzing screen texts and cultures that configure romance in politically and representationally radical ways.

In keeping with the Aims & Scope of New Review of Film and Television Studies, we seek analytically rigorous, accessible essays written from humanities (not social science) perspectives. Proposals for both thematic essays and close readings of single texts are welcome. Previously unpublished work only, please.

Approaches may include, but are not limited to, the following:

Re-readings of conventional/traditional romantic comedies that reveal radical content/meaning

Non-Hollywood, international, and transnational romantic comedy

Non-cinematic romcom: television series, web series, limited series, video games, podcasts…

Genre hybrid romantic comedy

Experimental aesthetics in romantic comedy

Uncoupling comedies

Bromances, womances

Deconstructive or parodic approaches to romantic comedy

Romantic comedy’s intersection with feminisms, queerness, critical race theory, critical disability theory…

Romantic comedy in the context of neoliberalism, neoconservatism, transnationalism, globalization…

Alternative authorship and reception cultures within romantic comedy (writers/directors/stars who are queer and/or of color; romcom’s cult audiences and fandoms...)

Counter-normative intimacies, relationships, and communities (e.g. asexual, BDSM, interracial, non-binary, non-dyadic, polyamorous) vis-à-vis romantic comedy

Romantic comedy’s navigation of identity, cultural difference, and privilege

Guest Editor
Dr. Maria San Filippo is Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Goucher College. She is author of The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television (Indiana University Press, 2013), which received a Lambda Literary Award and was selected as a top 10 film studies book of 2013 by Slant. Her current book manuscript, Sexual Provocation in 21st Century Screen Media, is under contract with Indiana University Press.

Please send a ca. 300 word abstract and brief biography (and direct all inquiries) to guest editor Maria San Filippo (Maria.SanFilippo@Goucher.edu) by May 1, 2018. Authors whose abstracts are selected will be notified by June 1, 2018. Full essays (6,000-7,000 words, including references) will be due on November 1, 2018.