CFP: [Film] (Edited Collection) Discourses on the State of Soap Opera in a Digital Age

full name / name of organization: 
Abigail Derecho
contact email: 

Discourses on the State of Soap Opera in a Digital Age
Editors: Abigail Derecho (Columbia College Chicago) and Sam Ford (MIT)

We are looking for contributions to an edited collection examining the
current state of one of the staple genres of United States television: the
daytime serial drama. This collection aims to collect essays focusing on a
diverse range of topics about the soap opera industry, soap characters and
storylines, soap opera audiences, cross-cultural consumption of soaps, and
the history of the genre, all focusing in some way on the current state of
the genre.

Soap operas are among the longest-running programs in the television
industry, with most of these narratives taking places over many decades.
Often called “worlds without end,” the future of these shows is
increasingly under question as ratings have continued to spiral downward
for the genre. A range of cultural, economic, technological, and artistic
causes have been blamed for the dwindling popularity of soaps: the movement
of more women into the workforce, bad storytelling, the proliferation of
television and other media content, the preemption of soap operas caused by
the O.J. Simpson trial in the mid-1990s, and the incorporation of
serialized storytelling in primetime. This collection seeks to examine how
soap operas remain relevant in the lives of millions of Americans and what
unique aspects of these texts make them historically significant and the
source of particularly engaged audiences.

This project currently has interest from two university presses and a
lineup of contributors for original essays and interviews which includes
Robert C. Allen, Nancy Baym, Denise Bielby, Lee Harrington, Elana Levine,
Lynn Liccardo, Tania Modleski, Martha Nochimson, Louise Spence, and Mary
Cassata and Barbara Irwin of Project Daytime.

Contributions for this edited collection will look at issues such as:

* Comparisons between daytime serial dramas and other forms of television,
such as primetime dramas and reality television

* The influence of telenovelas and other international media products on
U.S. soaps

* The influence of U.S. soaps on global media products, and U.S. soaps in
global contexts

* Effects of alternate distribution of soaps, such as the DirecTV/Passions
deal, SOAPnet, Web streaming, and fan distribution of the archives through
tape trading and sites like YouTube

* The unique attributes of existing soap opera texts

* Transmedia storytelling in soaps

* Shifts in the production of soaps

* Analysis of contemporary soap opera characters and stories

* Historical comparisons with the contemporary soap opera industry

* Issues of gender, age, race, class, and disability in soaps

* Soap opera fan fiction

* Fan archiving and proselytizing

* Fan discussion boards

Essays are encouraged from all disciplines as well as outside the academy.
 We are looking for shorter essays of 3,000 words or less and larger essays
from 3,000 to 8,000 words. Authors should submit abstracts of 500 words by
Nov. 1, 2007, along with a brief bio. Selected authors will be notified by
November 15; first drafts of essays will be due on March 25, 2008. Send
your proposal, or any questions about the project, to Sam Ford at or Abigail Derecho at

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Received on Wed Oct 03 2007 - 00:11:59 EDT