Queer Transformations: From Page to Screen (and Back) (NeMLA 2010)

full name / name of organization: 
Elizabeth McClure
contact email: 
emcclure@umd.edu

BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Much has been written on how queer characters in novels are “straightened” in mainstream television and film adaptations. This panel seeks to investigate the opposite practice: the queering of straight or coded characters in the process of adaptation from written text to film, television, or fan fiction.

FULL DESCRIPTION: Much has been written on how queer characters in novels are “straightened” in mainstream television and film adaptations, or how nominally gay or lesbian characters are made more palatable for mainstream TV and movie audiences through a muting of their potentially transgressive gender, sexual, or other characteristics. This panel seeks to investigate the opposite practice: the queering of straight or coded characters in the process of adaptation from novel, poem, or play to film, television, or fan fiction. Are such queer-friendly recharacterizations always liberatory? What social, political, aesthetic, or pedagogical effects do they have? Do they complicate or reinscribe binary systems of gender and sexuality? What are the effects of genre, medium, and audience? Paper subjects might include characters whose written characterizations code, veil, or only hint at possible queerness and whose sexuality is made more visible in a television or film adaptation; presumably straight characters whose sexuality is questioned or undermined; and characters from either written text or film whose gender and/or sexuality are changed or made transgressive in fan fiction, spinoffs, remakes, and other written or visual responses.

Papers could address any of the following or other relevant topics: film adaptations of canonical texts and authors (e.g., Derek Jarman’s Edward II); the understood or assumed audiences for adaptations; characteristics of authors and adapters of texts; publication venues for original texts and adaptations; audience expectations in relation to genre; effects of new media on the process of textual adaptation; methodological and ideological differences between adaptations that mute and those that insert or highlight gender or sexual ambiguity or transgressiveness; social or political consequences of queer-friendly adaptations; possible differences between “queer” and “gay” or “lesbian” adaptations; and pedagogical uses of film and fan-fiction adaptations. Papers that address any form or genre of adaptation, and any time period or author, are welcome.

Please send 300-word abstracts, along with a brief biographical note, no later than September 30, 2009. Send abstracts or questions to Elizabeth McClure at emcclure@umd.edu.

NeMLA 2010 will be held in Montreal, Quebec, April 7-11, 2010. See the conference site for details: http://www.nemla.org/convention/index.html

cfp categories: 
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
film_and_television
gender_studies_and_sexuality
popular_culture