BOOK IN SERIES: Refocus on the films of Amy Heckerling

full name / name of organization: 
Frances Smith and Timothy Shary, eds., Edinburgh University Press

Refocus on the films of Amy Heckerling
Edited by Dr. Frances Smith and Prof. Timothy Shary

The films of director and screenwriter Amy Heckerling have enjoyed both popular and critical success. Debut features Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) and National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985) were blockbuster hits at the box office, and were arguably instrumental in the development of the nascent high school and family comedies that emerged during the 1980s. Later, Heckerling would achieve critical recognition for Clueless (1995), her revisionist adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma, which led the way for a boom in teen literary adaptations at the end of the 1990s. Additionally, Heckerling has directed family films, notably the huge hits Look Who's Talking (1989) and its follow-up Look Who's Talking Too (1990), and created two television series – Baby Talk (ABC 1991-1992) and Clueless (ABC 1996-1999) – based on her film work. Her more recent films– Loser (2000), I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007), and Vamps (2012)– while compelling in terms of theme, did not achieve the visibility of her earlier work, suggesting that Hollywood may no longer embrace the mildly feminist work of a middle-aged female director.

Heckerling's films remain relevant and well remembered, while a growing body of academic literature acknowledges the importance of her teen films. Nonetheless, there has to date been no scholarly volume dedicated to the discussion of her work as a whole. This anthology seeks to address this gap in scholarship, and will be published by Edinburgh University Press in 2015 as part of the Refocus Series. Edited by Dr. Gary D Rhodes and Dr. Robert Singer, this series is dedicated to examining the work of overlooked directors.

We are seeking proposals of 500 words plus a biography of 50 words for essays to be included in the book. Completed essays should be between 6500 and 8000 words and follow the Chicago endnote referencing style.

We are open to proposals on all aspects of Amy Heckerling's work in both film and television. Essays may focus on individual works, or on themes and topics that pervade her body of work. Contributions are particularly welcome, but are by no means limited to, the following areas:

Heckerling and teen cinema and/or teen television
Analysis of individual films, or television series
Gender and teen comedy
Heckerling and family films, such as Look Who's Talking (1989)
The American family in Heckerling's films
Heckerling and Jewish comedy
Feminist themes in Heckerling's work
The place of female directors in genre history
Audience studies – growing up with Heckerling's films
Heckerling's role in the 1980s teen movie cycle
Issues of medium specificity working across film and television

Proposals should be sent to by January 31, 2014.
Both editors will review all proposals and provide a response by February 28, 2014.
Essays will need to be completed by September 30, 2014.
Please send any queries to