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The Velvet Light Trap, Issue #65, Spring 2009 â€“ Celebrity!
Stars are dead! Long live â€¦ celebrity?! It has been nearly two decades since Richard Dyerâ€™s
influential Stars reinvented our theoretical approaches to film stardom. In his text, Dyer
interrogated the social meanings we attach to screen icons and demonstrated how those
meanings contribute to our understanding of ourselves and others. While his project remains
central to star studies today, its exclusive focus on Hollywood stands at odds with a media
environment in which the cinemaâ€™s role in circulating the star image has been increasingly
marginalized. In the years since Dyerâ€™s original publication, we have witnessed the emergence of
a global paparazzi culture that revels in the conflation between traditional notions of stardom
and a more ambiguous obsession with â€œfameâ€ for fameâ€™s sake. It is time to investigate this
awkward tension and consider the ramifications it holds for the field of star studies. Does our
current celebrity culture amount to a new epoch in the evolution of â€œthe starâ€ or is it simply more
of the same?
Issue #65 of The Velvet Light Trap will explore our contemporary understandings of â€œcelebrity.â€
While the editors maintain a very broad definition of this phenomenon, special attention will be
given to contributions that consider celebrityâ€™s present manifestations in tabloid culture, online
gossip, and scandal or rethink previous engagements with stardom from fresh perspectives.
Whether papers approach celebrity as a discursive category, a commercial commodity, and/or an
object of consumption, the editors anticipate submissions that connect these strategies to the
historical, industrial, political, and cultural impetuses that underpin a societyâ€™s values.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
â€¢ Coming to â€œtermsâ€ with â€œstardomâ€ and â€œcelebrityâ€
â€¢ Race, nation, class, gender, sexuality, and celebrity
â€¢ Transnationalism and celebrity
â€¢ Post-race ideology and celebrity
â€¢ Athletics and celebrity
â€¢ Spectacle and celebrity
â€¢ Politics and celebrity
â€¢ Fandom, fan production, and celebrity
â€¢ Celebrity weddings
â€¢ Celebrity death
â€¢ Celebrity children
â€¢ Celebrity adoptions
â€¢ Celebrity news (e.g. TMZ, E!)
â€¢ Tabloid culture
â€¢ Online gossip
â€¢ Scandal and infamy
â€¢ Reality television, aka â€œCelebrealityâ€
â€¢ Sex tapes
Papers should be between 6,000 and 7,500 words (approximately 20-25 pages double-spaced),
in MLA style with a cover page including the writer's name and contact information. Please send
four copies of the paper (including a one-page abstract with each copy) in a format suitable to
be sent to a reader anonymously. The journal's Editorial Advisory Board will referee all
For more information or questions, contact Andrew Scahill at adscahill_at_mail.utexas.edu.
Submissions are due January 30, 2009, and should be sent to:
The Velvet Light Trap, c/o The Department of Radio-Television-Film, University of Texas at
Austin, CMA 6.118, Mail Code A0800, Austin, TX, 78712
The Velvet Light Trap is an academic, peer-reviewed journal of film and television studies.
Graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Texas-Austin
alternately coordinate issues. The Editorial Advisory Board includes such notable scholars as
Charlie Keil, Dan Marcus, David Desser, David Foster, Michele Malach, Joe McElhaney, Bambi
Haggins, Jason Mittell, Malcolm Turvey, Nina Martin, James Morrison, Karla Oeler, Tara
McPherson, Steve Neale, Aswin Punathambekar, Peter Bloom, Sean Griffin, and Michael Williams.
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Received on Thu Jan 08 2009 - 19:39:35 EST