Non-binary Gender Approaches to Cult and Fan Media (SCMS 2020 Panel CFP)

deadline for submissions: 
August 5, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Tamao Nakahara
contact email: 

This is a CFP for a panel proposal called “Non-binary Gender Approaches to Cult and Fan Media” to SCMS 2020 (Society for the Cinema and Media Studies conference) in Denver, April 1-5, 2020. 


The act of unravelling ideological practices as they appear in (visual) culture includes not reinforcing the exact ideologies that are under scrutiny. In this panel, we aim to contribute to the ongoing effort of discussing gender outside of and beyond binary structures. This project takes various media with established fan bases (sometimes with the label “cult”), and re-examines them and their scholarship from non-binary perspectives. For instance, we consider how some “cult” objects (especially “exploitation” media) often rely on the ideological practices that naturalize and moralize along dualistic constructions of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and geography. For those examples, dualisms are the foundation of exploiting the concept of transgression or presenting camp pastiches that illuminate the constructed and fragile binary structures. For more “mainstream” cult films, non-heteronormative readings help to investigate how leadership is constructed in the media through all aspects of the body, performance, and the narrative in ways that polymorphically do not adhere to dualistic constraints of “what a leader looks like.” 


This panel, therefore, examines visual artifacts that have had particular longevity and resonance to explore richer readings of the media, their fan experiences, and the ways in which our approaches can honor the non-binary character of the objects themselves. This panel is part of an anthology project on the same topic.

Please send your submission through this submission form by August 5, 2019. If you have any issues, please contact Tamao Nakahara ( or Ernest Mathijs (