Revenant Death and the Screen

deadline for submissions: 
October 5, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Dr Bethan Michael-Fox and Dr Renske Visser

Death and the Screen

Call for Papers for Special Issue

Guest Editors Dr Bethan Michael-Fox (@bethmichaelfox) and Dr Renske Visser (@Renske_Visser)

Revenant (www.revenantjournal.com) is now accepting abstracts for critical articles, creative writing pieces, and book, film, music, or event reviews for a themed issue on Death and the Screen, examining how screens, in the broad sense of the word, have shaped and continue to shape the way we witness, experience and reflect on death and dying. 

Numerous and complex relationships between death and the screen have already been charted. The dead come back in film, on television and online. Screens let us not only see the dead but hear them too. As Penfold-Mounce has emphasised, in a technology saturated world of mass media, ‘the dead no longer remain silent as the grave’ (2018, p.36). Whilst relationships between screens and digital media more broadly have gained attention, so have the dynamics of death and individual screen media. While some argue that television is one way in which death is brought into the home, others have examined the ways in which the representation of dying on television might be problematic or harmful to audiences.

In terms of ‘real’ death, it is possible to witness death, dying and trauma on mobile phones, tablets and laptops simply by scrolling through social media. Autoplay and ‘live’ features in apps have been critiqued for the ways they expose people to these images without warning. When George Floyd’s death at the hands of US police officers was recorded some people sought this video out, while others have shared their experiences of deciding not to watch it.

Many people don’t shy away from death and the gory on screen. To what extent is this a form of escapism and to what extent is it an extension of their everyday life? And how can you ‘escape’ death on the screen when death and dying is at the center of the daily news and a theme in almost any film, television show and now also in advertisements? How do screen deaths relate to ‘real’ deaths in people’s lives and can such a distinction even be made? 

As screen media become more ubiquitous, these complex and multifaceted relationships continue to warrant further critical attention. In keeping with Revenant’s positioning as an inter-disciplinary journal encouraging discussion about the supernatural, uncanny or the weird, we welcome proposals for submissions that engage with these ideas. However, Revenant also emphasises that the ‘natural’ is part of the super-natural and as such academic and/or creative engagement with ‘natural’ death and/on the screen, or which complicates the notion of a ‘natural’ death, is also welcome. 

We believe a range of different methodological and theoretical approaches will enrich this special issue and as such urge you not to feel limited. We encourage proposals for academic articles or creative responses, which might be poetry, fiction, fanfiction, art, comics, audio or film that might stand alone or be accompanied by critical reflections, as well as autoethnographic and/or personal responses. Submissions that blur the boundaries of these categories are also welcomed.

Topics or areas of focus might include: 

Making sense of death and dying through the screen

Haunting and/in screen cultures

Weird screen deaths

The ethics of screen deaths

Death and the supernatural on screen

Documentary engagement with death and dying

Adaptation of death (from literature or elsewhere) to the screen

Death and the uncanny in screen cultures

Death, social media and any of Revenant’s themes: the uncanny, the supernatural, the weird or haunting

Personal and/or creative responses to death and the/on the screen

Crises (climate, pandemic, other crises), death and screens

Non-human death and/on the screen 

Death in screen gaming

Please submit extended abstracts of 500 words by 5 October 2020 with a short bio either via the Google Form here: https://forms.gle/2cnxWLkfSEzK8mR19

Or to: deathandthescreen@gmail.com

For creative or innovative submissions please also feel welcome to get in touch via email on deathandthescreen@gmail.com to discuss your ideas or propose your work in a different way. 

Reviews of books, films, games, events, and art related to the death and the screen will be considered (800-1,000 words in length).

If your abstract is accepted, the full submission will be due in April 2021 with a view to publish in late Winter 2021. 

Inquiries are welcome and should be directed to deathandthescreen@gmail.com