Unmasking Masculinity: Superheroes and Defeating the Power of Patriarchy

deadline for submissions: 
May 7, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Sean Parson
contact email: 

We are seeking 300-500 word abstracts by May 7th, 2018 for possible inclusion into an edited collection seeking to explore the complex relationship between masculinity, toxic masculinity, gender, queerness, and superhero narratives. Over the last few years there have been books that that explore issues of feminism, gender, and sexuality within comic books but rarely have they engaged with the way the genre shapes and is shaped by contemporary conceptions of masculinity. This project is meant to fill that absence focusing on the construction of the masculinity in comics, as well as engage with critical works that deconstruct toxic version of masculinity or offer queerer, trans, and feminist counter-narratives of the concept.


While superheroes have historically been understood as a “male” genre, focusing primarily on militarism, violence, and traditional gender roles and tropes to move narratives forward, in recent years, there have been a slate of critical and feminist superhero series that have shaped the conversation around gender within the genre. While the inclusion of feminist and female perspectives is essential for the genre, and long overdue, there has been less of a focus on version of masculinity portrayed within the genre and the ways in which counter-narratives of masculinity have, or could, be developed. At a time when concepts like, toxic masculinity, are no longer merely academic phrases, but popularly understood concepts, its time to deconstruct masculinity as it appears on the page, the screen, the tv


This edited book will be peer reviewed and will be submitted, although this contract won’t be secured until all abstracts are chosen. We are interested not only in the present controversies and debates within the field of masculinity but also in expanding the debate and discussion on the topics of superheroes to engage beyond traditional conversations of masculinity to include queer and trans perspectives. Possible topics might include:


Abelism                       Animal activism                       Body image                              Comic Studies

Communication           Critical Race theory                 Emotional labor                      Feminist Theory

Friendships                  Film Analysis and theory         History of Gender in comics    Marxist Analysis

Marriage                      Media Studies                          Militarism                                Notions of becoming

Intersectionality           Queer Theory                          Post/Trans humanism             Sexuality

Social Reproduction    Television                                Trans issues in comics              Violence


Please direct any questions and 300-500 word abstracts along with a 150 word bio to Dr. JL Schatz (debate@binghamton.edu) and Dr. Sean Parson (sean.parson@nau.edu) by May 7th, 2018. Final pieces will be approximately 5,000 to 7,000 words.


We will notify authors of their acceptance no later than May 21st, 2018