Feeding Cultural Fear: Essays on Films During a Time of Transition: 1998-2020

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Ashley Carranza/College of Southern Nevada
contact email: 

Call for Essays: Feeding Cultural Fear: Essays on Films During a Time of Transition, 1998-2020


I am looking for proposals for chapters for an academic book that aims to examine the manifestation of collective societal fears in film.This collection will cover films specifically from the time period of 1998-2020. This collection is under contract with McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers and will be released in 2020.

The past few decades proved themselves very tumultuous-- constant snowballing from one issue to the next left America with a sense of constant impending doom. From Y2K, terrorism, xenophobia, rapid technological advancements, the economy crash, changes in political climates, racism, sexism, challenges to heteronormative standpoints, homeland tension, to anxiety surrounding personal liberties, an undercurrent of fear lurked.

Feeding Cultural Fear: Essays on Films During a Time of Transition, 1998-2020  proposes to explore and analyze collective cultural fears and the ways in which specific films/film franchises speak to or manifest these fears. Some films are blatant, while others may require more of a metaphoric reflection.

Successful proposals will examine a film or films from a retrospective stance, addressing the cultural issues surrounding the time period/events, and a film’s function during this time. Preferentially, proposals should also explore how these films still hold relevance today as America has undergone social, economical, political, and technological transitions. Comparative reflections of numerous films from 1998 to the present and the ways in which the narratives speak to one another are particularly advised. Selected essays will need to be 5,000-7,000 words in length.

An example of the dynamics this collection aims to explore is Planet of the Apes. In many cases, the fears expressed in a specific time period can mirror fears in different cultural climates. For example, the revival of the Planet of the Apes franchise demonstrates the ways in which the film's message holds true over the span of decades. The films are still relevant even when rebooted in 2001 because the fears expressed can become a personal effect for the audience. When released in the 1970s, the franchise spoke to a range of fears from technology and racism to the Cold War, but its strong following in today's society shows how these fears are still relevant and prevalent, (not literally the Cold War, but similar tensions, etc.)  The various Ape films have been incredibly popular and speak to audiences numerous times between 2001 through 2020 when another will be released. Mass consumption demonstrates the flexibility of these narratives in different cultural situations. These films scratch subconscious itches for audience members. Some films transcend the turn of the millenium and carry the brunt of issues still relevant in today’s society, offering numerous avenues for interpretation and analysis for scholars and film aficionados from all walks of life.

Proposals should delve into discourse that bridges what this film reveals about society, or how it fulfills subconscious urges for the audience, while reflecting on time periods as is appropriate for a text that revisits an older film.


The Deadlines:

  • I will accept abstracts on a rolling basis up until March 1, 2019.  Those whose abstracts are accepted will be sent the style guide and information regarding the preparation of manuscripts.

  • Contributors must submit the first draft of their essays to me by August 1, 2019. Feedback and an opportunity for final edits are due following peer review process. Specific dates for final drafts will be given at a later date.

  • Please note, no extensions can be given once accepted, so please only submit abstracts if you are certain you can adhere to this timetable.


I am looking for essays on any topics relating to the film’s theme, visuals, allusions, actors, and relevance in today’s society. Authors are invited to submit proposals related, but not limited to, any of the following films:

1998- The Truman Show, Armageddon, Dark City, Enemy of the State, American History X

1999- The Matrixfranchise, Boys Don't Cry (proto-gender/trans movement and the ways in which it speaks to 2020 audiences), Blair Witch Project franchise

2000- Cast Away, American Psycho, The Cell, Final Destinationfranchise

2001- Enemy at the Gates, A.I., I Am Sam, Planet of the Apes franchise, Lord of the Ringsfranchise

2002- Panic Room, Mothman Prophecies, 28 Days Later

2003- Kill Billfranchise

2004- The Passion of the Christ, Dawn of the Dead, The Village, Fahrenheit 9/11, The Day After Tomorrow, I-Robot, National Treasure

2005- King Kong, Brokeback Mountain, Syriana, The Constant Gardener, Aeon Flux

2006- Pan's Labyrinth, Apocalypto, Babel, Idiocracy

2007- The Mist, There Will be Blood, Into the Wild, 28 Weeks Later

2008- The Dark Knight, Wall-E, Cloverfield, Gran Torino, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Milk, Revolutionary Road

2009- District 9, The Road, Law Abiding Citizen, 2012

2010- Inception, Shutter Island

2011- Super 8, Limitless

2012-  Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty, Prometheus, Brave, Hunger Games franchise, Paranorman, Total Recall  

2013- The Purge franchise, Gravity, World War Z, Elysium, Ender's Game  

2014- Edge of Tomorrow, Interstellar, The Maze Runnerfranchise, Divergent franchise

2015- Mad Max, The Martian, The Revenant, Chappie, Tomorrowland

2016- Arrival, Moonlight, The Girl with All the Gifts, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Purge Election Year

2017- Get Out, The Shape of Water, Blade Runner 2049, It, Alien: Covenant, Bitch (Netflix)

2018- Annihilation, Overlord, Sorry to Bother You, [Rub & Tug--production on-hold due to controversial casting, the issues surrounding this could be a book all in itself]

2019- The Kid Who Would be King

2020- Wonder Woman 1984

Other suggestions may include the rise in superhero films--the genre, hero tropes, specific characters.


 Please submit 250-500 word abstracts with a brief bio to: ashley.carranza@csn.edu by March 1, 2019. Abstracts may be delivered either as a Word attachment or in the body of an email. Please do not share Google Docs when submitting your proposal.               

Please share this CFP with any and all you believe might be interested.  Thank you.

Ashley Carranza teaches English at College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. Her publications range from flash fiction to academic essays focusing on topics including popular culture and pedagogy. Carranza is an active presenting member of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association.