[Update] Representing the Contemporary Youth in Teen Television Drama

full name / name of organization: 
45th Annual Convention, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) , Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
contact email: 
leviaj@gmail.com

From Beverley Hills 90210 to Gossip Girl and Glee, the genre of the teen drama series has added a unique and multi-faceted dynamic to the American television landscape. The popularity of this genre stems from the way in which it challenges and dramatizes the realities of its young viewers, presenting them with a fantastical reality which is defined by melodrama, materialism and excess. This quality of the genre often causes adult viewers to dismiss the teen drama series as a product of guilty pleasure television. Yet, the way it represents contemporary teenage identity and, conversely, the way in which teenage viewers respond to this representation, signals a multi-layered interpretation of what it means to exist within the complex liminal space between childhood and adulthood. How, for instance, do teenagers perceive the social and national politics of their world, both in and out of the classroom? Furthermore, how do these perceptions challenge and/or broader social and nationalistic anxieties experienced within the adult world they are on the verge of encountering? The teen drama series provides a useful framework through which to explore these questions.

Though academic work has been produced on particular teen drama series’, these studies have mainly focused on these shows outside the context of their specific genre form. This seminar will seek to provide a clearer and more substantial study of this genre and its place within television studies. I welcome papers on any teen television drama, past or present, that examines this genre from multiple perspectives, such as its representation of issues pertaining to gender, class and race.

Please send abstracts of 250-300 words to Adam Levin at leviaj@gmail.com. The closing date for abstracts is 30th September 2013.

From Beverley Hills 90210 to Gossip Girl and Glee, the genre of the teen drama series has added a unique and multi-faceted dynamic to the American television landscape. The popularity of this genre stems from the way in which it challenges and dramatizes the realities of its young viewers, presenting them with a fantastical reality which is defined by melodrama, materialism and excess. This quality of the genre often causes adult viewers to dismiss the teen drama series as a product of guilty pleasure television. Yet, the way it represents contemporary teenage identity and, conversely, the way in which teenage viewers respond to this representation, signals a multi-layered interpretation of what it means to exist within the complex liminal space between childhood and adulthood. How, for instance, do teenagers perceive the social and national politics of their world, both in and out of the classroom? Furthermore, how do these perceptions challenge broader social and nationalistic anxieties experienced within the adult world they are on the verge of encountering? The teen drama series provides a useful framework through which to explore these questions.

Though academic work has been produced on particular teen drama series’, these studies have mainly focused on these shows outside the context of their specific genre form. This seminar will seek to provide a clearer and more substantial study of this genre and its place within television studies. I welcome papers on any teen television drama, past or present, that examines this genre from multiple perspectives, such as its representation of issues pertaining to gender, class and race.

The 2014 NeMLA convention continues the Association's tradition of sharing innovative scholarship in an engaging and generative location. This capitol city set on the Susquehanna River is known for its vibrant restaurant scene, historical sites, the National Civil War museum, and nearby Amish Country, antique shops and Hershey Park. NeMLA has arranged low hotel rates of $104-$124.

The 2014 event will include guest speakers, literary readings, professional events, and workshops. A reading by George Saunders will open the Convention. His 2013 collection of short fiction, The Tenth of December, has been acclaimed by the New York Times as “the best book you’ll read this year.” The Keynote speaker will be David Staller of Project Shaw.

Interested participants may submit abstracts to more than one NeMLA session; however, panelists can only present one paper (panel or seminar). Convention participants may present a paper at a panel and also present at a creative session or participate in a roundtable. http://www.nemla.org/convention/2014/cfp.html

cfp categories: 
american
film_and_television
popular_culture
twentieth_century_and_beyond