Science Fiction in Children's Film and Television (proposals by 05/31/09)

full name / name of organization: 
R.C. Neighbors/University of Arkansas

It has often been said that science fiction is a literature of ideas. Through the use of familiar tropes, such as spaceships, aliens, and ray guns, the genre uses the future (and sometimes the past) to comment on the present--on current social, cultural, and political ideologies. Likewise, media directed at children often focus on advocating or criticizing similar ideologies, often for a didactic purpose. It is interesting, then, that so little has been said about the joining of these two genres--children's science fiction--particularly when dealing with the visual media of film and television.

Toward this end, the proposed essay collection, To Infinity and Beyond: Science Fiction in Children's Film and Television, will attempt to fill this gap in scholarship. It will primarily deal with how children's visual media use science fiction to promote or discourage certain ideologies. However, essays on other issues dealing with science fiction in children's programming--such as the encoding of science fiction tropes in children's media, conversations between children's film/TV and adult science fiction, science fictional elements in other genres, and the growing popularity of science fiction in children's visual media, etc--will be considered.

A Few Examples of Possible Topics

Lilo and Stitch
The Iron Giant
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
Meet the Robinsons
Monsters vs. Aliens

(Television Shows)
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
Power Rangers (any of its variations)
Dextor's Laboratory
The Jetsons

(Specific Characters)
Buzz Lightyear (from the Toy Story movies)
Brain (from Pinky and the Brain)
Jimmy Neutron
Stitch from (Lilo and Stitch)

If interested in contributing to the collection, please send your CV and a 300-500 word abstract to R.C. Neighbors ( by May 31st. (If a draft of the essay is already completed, please send it along with the other materials.) Graduate student submissions are welcome.