CFP: Superheroes and Trauma (4/7/06; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
Ms. Vanessa Raney
contact email: 

Superheroes and Trauma (book collection) (7 Apr. 2006; 30 Sept. 2006)

Vanessa Raney, Southern Connecticut State University
Peter F. Coogan, Fontbonne University

One can locate scholarship on the ideological and mythic status of
superheroes in which the social and fantastic collide to offer
interesting but primarily theoretical constructions on the privileging
of norms in society. Our book collection hopes to contribute to this
burgeoning field by examining more closely the role of trauma in the
superhero saga, especially the ways that it gets encoded, transcribed,
and received. Thus, we seek submissions focused on Marvel and DC style
superheroes (that is, protagonists of the superhero genre only, not all
super heroes: ordinary heroes who are super or superior like the way
firefighters and policeman were depicted after 9/11) and trauma.

By looking to both the villains and the heroes, we intend to trace the
onset of traumatic realism and the masculinity emboldened by it even
when the subject is female. Does, for example, Mary Wollstonecraft's
view of <<masculine women>> still hold as a standard for today's
liberal woman as represented in the crimefighter or femme fatale? Are
male heroes necessarily tragic because in their humanization, they must
mask their subversions to feminine gestures of pain by concealing them
in costume?
We do not wish simply to point to particular junctures of traumatism,
but to grapple with their significance in a continual cycle that makes
superheroes and villains both inside (unmasked) and outside (masked),
both accepted (human) and reviled (suprahuman), both tragic (real) and
stoic (imaginary), etc. Because we seek to separate the oppositions of
supervillain and superhero, we are interested in papers that address
any superhero or supervillain in any serialized comics or adaptations
in film, television and novels from within and outside the United
States. Essays should include an extensive foray into the psyches,
histories, and redoubling into tragedy (whether compounded or relived),
etc. of superheroes and villains.

We hope to publish perspectives from various fields, including English,
Cultural Studies, History, Psychology, Sociology, etc., and approaches
to the subject that are broadly inclusive. Collaborations are also
encouraged (e.g, between a linguist and a traumatist); if you would
like to be paired with someone, let us know and we will see what we can
do to make it happen.
If interested in contributing, please submit a 500 word abstract with
name, affiliation (school, other), mailing address, e-mail, and phone
number to Vanessa Raney ( or and
Peter Coogan (, Editors, no later than April 7,
2006. Notifications of acceptance will be made by July 15, 2006, with
final papers due by Sept. 30, 2006.

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Received on Sat Feb 11 2006 - 14:45:27 EST