CFP: Reading Alias (11/14/05; collection)

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Call For Papers: Secrets and Spies: Reading Alias


Edited by Stacey Abbott (Roehampton University) and Simon Brown (Kingston University)



We are seeking proposals for a new edited collection on the American TV series Alias.


As well as being an important series in its own right, Alias stands at a central point in issues of American Quality Television (AQT). Its launch came on the heels of the major supernatural based series like The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BtVS), part of a move in AQT towards more government agency and institution based series such as Without a Trace, 24 and CSI. Alias however remains the only such series to retain the supernatural elements of its predecessors. Furthermore, the series’ first season came in the wake of the events of September 11, an event that, given its preoccupation with American government institutions and terrorism, was to prove influential to the series’ trajectory. In a world where suddenly your neighbour could be a threat to you, no-one could be trusted, and anyone who wasn’t you was Other, Alias’ themes of doubles and duplicity was perfectly placed to comment upon both contemporary global relations and the personal paranoias of post !
 9/11 citizens. But as much as Alias has reflected issues of global politics, at its core have been issues of family and relationships, revolving around the central character, Sydney Bristow.


The main aim of this collection is to bring together a wide range of critical approaches from film and television studies, as well as from other disciplines, to engage with the series’ narrative structure, character complexity, style, gender, fan culture, and socio-political context. In addition, it aims to explore developments within American Quality Television by considering how the series functions in relation to other key AQT texts, such as BtVS, The X-Files, The West Wing and 24.


Proposals are welcome on, but not limited to, the following topics:


* Family: Fathers and daughters; mothers and daughters; sisters
* Female superspies
* Gender identities and gender politics
* Feminism and post-feminism
* Feminism and the action heroine (e.g. Sydney as post-Buffy action heroine)
* Fights, stunts and special fx
* Characters, actors, guest stars (all welcome)
* Narrative Structure
* Fluidity of good and evil
* Doubles, doppelgangers and aliases
* Rambaldi, treasure hunting and the mystical
* Heroes(?): Agencies and Institutions: representations of CIA, KGB
* Villains (?): Terrorists and terrorist threats
* Post 9/11 global politics
* Alias in relation to other AQT Dramas (e.g. X-Files, BtVS, Angel, 24, The West Wing, CSI etc.)
* Aesthetics (e.g. sound, music, special effects, lighting, locations, set design)
* Genre hybridity and intertextuality
* Fashion and gadgetry
* The role of the TV creator
* Beyond the series (novelisations, DVD packaging, web sites, comics)
* Fiction and fan fiction
* Fans and audiences


This collection will be published by I.B Tauris, adding to their existing publications in the field of television studies, which include Reading the Vampire Slayer (2004), Reading Sex and the City (2004), Reading Angel (2005) and Reading Six Feet Under (2005).


Proposals are required by Monday 14th November 2005. They should be approximately 500 words and accompanied by a brief biography. Proposals should be submitted by e-mail to


Stacey Abbott is a Senior Lecturer in Film and Television Studies at Roehampton University. She is the editor of Reading Angel: The TV Spin-Off with a Soul and the author of Celluloid Vampires (forthcoming University of Texas Press, 2007).


Simon Brown is a film historian and Lecturer in Film Studies at Kingston University. He has published on such eclectic subjects as James Cameron’s Titanic, colour in British documentaries of the 1930s, and early Twentieth Century erotic cinema in Britain.

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Received on Sat Sep 10 2005 - 12:40:57 EDT