CFP: "A Post (Network) Mortem on Dixie: Televisual Tales of a Post-Racial South", (12/19/11; Boston, MA 7/19/12-7/22/12)

full name / name of organization: 
Justin Owen Rawlins / Indiana University
contact email: 

Proposed Panel for Console-ing Passions Conference:
"A Post (Network) Mortem on Dixie: Televisual Tales of a Post-Racial South"
July 19-22, 2012, Boston, MA

When it occurred, numerous pundits cited the 2008 presidential election victory of Barack Obama as indisputable proof that in fact the U.S. had officially become a "post-race" society. This post-race sensibility is mirrored by U.S-oriented television programming despite Southern Poverty Law Center statistics that demonstrate consistent increases in
race-based hate group activity both before and after Obama's win. Not surprisingly, current primetime television programming erases and ignores the prevalence of systematic racism in favor of narratives and representations that individuate race or ignore it altogether. Such post-race texts are produced, distributed, and exhibited in large part within the tenuous parameters of "post-network" television.

This panel seeks to analyze how the discourses and practices of "post-race" and "post-network" converge in the American South. From the CW's series Vampire Diaries and Hart of Dixie to TBS's House of Payne and AMC's The Walking Dead, the South offers an emergent-and popular-televisual universe for the dissemination of cultural and national fantasies about race and region. This panel seeks papers that engage with intersections of "post-network," "post-race," and the American South in some manner.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

"Post-race" representations of the South on network or cable programs

"Post-network" branding and the "post-race" South

Television stardom and the "post-race" South

Blind-casting practices

Reception and the "post-race" South

Intersections of the "post-race" South and other subject positions (ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, body normativity, etc)

Please submit an abstract of 200 words or less, a five item bibliography, and a brief biographical statement to Phoebe Bronstein ( and Justin Rawlins ( by 5pm on December 19, 2011.