deadline for submissions: 
June 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Blake Beaver / South Atlantic Modern Language Association
contact email: 

Given the evident command of the celebrity in 20th- and 21st-century media cultures and following modern trends toward trans-medial and inter-generic production, this traditional session calls for papers that explore the relationships between celebrity and generic scandals. How have filmmakers, television writers, tabloid/entertainment journalists, novelists, essayists, biographers, memoirists, and other cultural creators depicted celebrity scandal while pushing the limits of their given genre or medium? While the 20th and 21st centuries are the focus of this call, media and literary scholars of all periods are welcomed to apply. History-bending is happily encouraged alongside genre-bending. Scandals could involve:

  • Addiction/alcoholism
  • Mental illness and “nervous breakdowns”
  • Sexual controversy: sex tapes, infidelity, coming out, consent, rape, assault, doxing, incest, public sex, etc.
  • Censorship and privacy
  • Body image (fatness, thinness)
  • Crime (shoplifting, violence, DUIs)
  • Health spectacles: disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, etc.
  • Slander
  • Cults

Potential topics/methods could include:

  • Documentary films or TV series that record a star’s scandal, or fictions that recreate such scandals
  • The biography of celebrity scandals, or autobiographies or memoirs written by scandalous celebrities
  • The relationships between identity and celebrity and/or identity and genre: age, religion, class, language, ability, race, sex, gender, nationality, geography, and intersectional approaches
  • The influence of contemporary “factual entertainment” (e.g. reality TV, talk shows) on genres of celebrity (A-list, D-list, elitist, populist, etc.)
  • Paparazzi and tabloid cultures
  • Historical approaches to “celebrity genres”
  • Celebrity scandal explored through genres of confession, witness, testimony, evidence, etc.
  • Political celebrity and election media
  • Celebrity affects, generic affects

Please send a 300-word abstract, brief bio, and A/V requirements to Blake Beaver at by June 1, 2020. 

CFP Link: