CFP: My So-Called Life (3/20/04; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Michele Byers
contact email: 

CALL FOR PAPERS: "Dear Angela:" Remembering My So-Called Life

Edited by Michele Byers, Saint Mary's University, and David Lavery, Middle
Tennessee State University.

The editors are currently seeking proposals and contributions for an edited
collection of essays focused on the television series My So-Called Life
(1994 – 95).

In 1999,'s Joyce Millman described "TV's Teenage Girl Hall of
Fame" as populated by, for example, Lindsay Weir (Freaks & Geeks), Buffy
Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Angela Chase (My So-Called Life).
Though certainly not the first young woman to be the center of a television
series, Angela, and the show about her life, was seen to be doing something
new on television, and is seen to have influenced many of the shows about
young people that came after it. Though it lasted only one season, the
popularity of the series remains high, as does the perception that its
legacy continues to be felt in series produced since it went off the air.
Though the series appeared in syndication for some time, in 2002 BMG Special
Productions released the complete series in a five-CD box set. Given that
the series is now widely available to viewers old and new, we would like to
take the opportunity to examine this important series in a volume aimed at
an educated but not highly specialized audience. The essays chosen to be
included will be open to a variety of styles and subjects, and should be
scholarly but not obscure, knowledgeable but not erudite. A publisher will
be sought from among both mainstream and university presses.

We are seeking submissions on all topics related to My So-Called Life; the
following list is meant to be suggestive, but in no way represents the only
possible areas of inquiry we are interested in including in this book:

* Studies of individual or groups of characters and/or actors
* Winnie Holzman, Marshall Herskovitz, Edward Zwick
* MSCL's influence on other series and comparisons to other series
* MSCL's place in TV history
* MSCL and girl power
* FFL (Fighting For Life) and OLS (Operation Life Support) in the struggle
to save the series
* MSCL's web-based afterlife, including fan fiction
* MSCL's use of dreams and voice-overs
* MSCL and "quality" TV
* Literary and/or popular culture allusions on MSCL
* MSCL and the study of girl cultures, youth cultures, subculture, and more
* MSCL's episodes (general and fantasy) and story arcs
* MSCL's characters and the actors who portrayed them
* Fashion and style on MSCL (including discussions of Angela's hair)
* Music, bands, and the scene on MSCL
* MSCL and audience studies
* Reviews of MSCL
* Mothers and daughters, father and daughters on MSCL
* Studies of parenting and family on MSCL
* The body on MSCL
* MSCL's use of language and voice
* Studies of "realism" and "authenticity" on MSCL
* Images of home on MSCL
* Spaces, landscapes, and locations on MSCL
* High school, education, and educators on MSCL
* MSCL and representations of gender, racialization, ethnicity, sexual
orientation, age, class, etc.
* Friendship on MSCL
* Morality and authority on MSCL
* Books about MSCL (and the MSCL books)
* Food on MSCL
* Sex on MSCL
* Religion and/or politics on MSCL
* Ethics and/or philosophy on/of MSCL
* Adolescent and adult relationships on MSCL

Proposals are sought ASAP but will be accepted until March 20th, 2004.
Please send your inquiries, complete submissions, or a proposal of no more
than 750 words as an email attachment (.doc or .rtf) to Please include a short biography of yourself with
your proposal. Essays chosen for final consideration must be completed by
August 31st, 2004.

Dr. Michele Byers is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology at
Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she teaches a variety
of courses about the media and popular culture. She has written and
published in the area of television studies, including the series Buffy the
Vampire Slayer (about which she wrote her doctoral thesis), My So-Called
Life, Beverly Hills, 90210, and Party of Five. She is currently involved in
a research project about the Degrassi series, Canadian television, youth
culture and identity.

Dr. David Lavery is Professor of English at Middle Tennessee State
University, where he teaches courses on American literature, science
fiction, modern poetry, popular culture, and film. He is the author, editor,
or co-editor of Late for the Sky: The Mentality of the Space Age (1992),
Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks (1994), 'Deny All
Knowledge': Reading The X-Files (1996), Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake
in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2002), Teleparody: Predicting/Preventing the TV
Discourse of Tomorrow (2002), and This Thing of Ours: Investigating The
Sopranos (2002).

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Received on Wed Jan 21 2004 - 01:46:27 EST