ReFocus: The Films of Spike Jonze

deadline for submissions: 
August 18, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Kim Wilkins and Wyatt Moss-Wellington (University of Sydney)

Spike Jonze is a celebrated director whose deeply philosophical film work crosses boundaries between studio and independent modes of production, genre entertainment and experimentalism. Jonze's oeuvre includes highly regarded feature films (Being John MalkovichAdaptationWhere the Wild Things Are and Her), commercials, music videos and shorts; he is also a prolific producer and actor. Across his work, Jonze investigates the vagaries of contemporary American culture with a particular interest in themes of identity fluidity, loss and grief, American celebrity cultures, storytelling and metacognition, nurturance and development, technology and surveillance, evolution and sociobiology, memory and fantasy.

This curated edition looks to facilitate in-depth analyses of Jonze's various creative pursuits—both independently and in collaboration with other artists, including renowned writers such as Charlie Kaufman and Dave Eggers—while establishing critical dialogues in the thematic links between them.

The edited collection will be aimed at Edinburgh University Press’s ReFocus series, examining overlooked American film directors. Series editors are Robert Singer, PhD and Gary D. Rhodes, PhD.

Topics for papers may include, but are not limited to:

  • Jonze’s feature films
  • Jonze in collaboration
  • Jonze’s work in commercials, music videos, shorts and television
  • American identity and popular culture
  • Technology and surveillance
  • Cognitive and Darwinist approaches to Jonze
  • Feminist approaches to Jonze
  • Industry, indie and Hollywood
  • Political and ethical approaches to Jonze
  • Jonze and narrative theory
  • Genre, convention, and experimentation
  • Trauma, loss and grief
  • Humor studies
  • Affect and sentimentalism
  • Jonze as producer and performer
  • Jonze and music
  • Jonze and film philosophy

We particularly invite submissions focused upon Jonze’s work in music videos, commercials, shorts, TV, performance and production. If you have any questions regarding the suitability of possible topics and material for inclu­sion in the volume, please do not hesitate to contact the editors.


We invite proposals of approximately 250 words, and a 50-100 word author biography. The deadline for ab­stract submissions is August 18, 2017. Please send your proposals to Accepted contributors are expected to submit their full chap­ters of 6,000-8,000 words including endnotes (referenced in Chicago style) by December 1, 2017.