Screening Controversy

deadline for submissions: 
February 1, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Mark McKenna, Staffordshire University

Call for Chapters: Screening Controversy

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

You are invited to submit an abstract for the upcoming edited collection Screening Controversy, part of the Routledge Screening Film series of books that aim to support the use of individual film screenings as a core aspect of film studies pedagogy. Books devoted to individual films are often difficult to assign as set readings due to their length and approach which is not conceptualized for screening-based support. Screening Film is positioned to fill this gap in teaching film where screenings are a core activity. Each volume of Screening Film includes fifty key readings on individual films specifically designed with the aim of supporting film screenings. Contributions should be short, focused, contextual and analytical readings that address an individual film of your choice, and, as the title of this volume suggests, this volume is specifically interested in films whose reception has been marred by controversy. We invite established and emerging scholars specializing in film studies and cognate disciplines, to contribute chapters of a maximum of 4000 words on an individual film that responds to the theme of the collection. It is expected that each chapter includes any key historical, political, stylistic, industrial contexts which are necessary for understanding the film more broadly, especially in relation to the canon, movements, and debates which circulate around the text and that this is in advance of, or alongside, any new insights, research, and arguments brought to the analysis. 

Since the beginning of the twentieth century as the early experiments with celluloid evolved into the first feature-length narratively driven films, film has enthralled and entertained its audiences. However, it has simultaneously functioned as a barometer for social mores and often served as an uncomfortable reflection of the society that produced it. With representations of religious imagery, political commentary, sex and violence frequently at the forefront of debates around what is, and what should be, permissible within the cinematic frame, controversy has followed films that seek to push the boundaries of cinematic expression, ensuring that cinema has retained the ability to shock and offend. Screening Controversy aims to bring together scholarship that offers insightful analysis into film that has been demarcated as controversial, exploring key concepts, theories, arguments, histories, and debates within film studies or pertaining to the film’s wider contexts. Chapters should consider 2-4 key themes or issues relevant to the film of your choice and be mindful that the book’s purpose is to support and supplement the screening of that film. We welcome historic examples and examples from outside of the Anglo/American/European canon. 
Chapters might explore but are not limited to:

  • Aesthetic, technological, economic and/or social histories
  • Obscenity and offence
  • Morality
  • Blasphemy and religious controversy
  • Sexuality and sexual representation
  • Pornography
  • Representations of rape and sexual violence
  • Subversion and transgression
  • The representation of violence
  • Political Controversy
  • Profanity
  • Drug use
  • Satire and comedy
  • Fascism
  • xenophobia and racism
  • Censorship and censors
  • Moral panics and responses to problematic media in the public sphere
  • Nationally specific responses
  • Associations with trends, i.e. Video Nasties/Torture Porn/New French Extremism
  • Responses to new technologies

Key dates

Abstract submission deadline: 1 February 2021
Notification of acceptance: 28 February 2021
Full chapter submission (min / max 4000 words): 31 December 2021

Please send in abstracts of max 300 words and a brief biographical note of 150 words to:
Dr Mark McKenna, Department of Media and Performance, Staffordshire University, United Kingdom,

I look forward to receiving your abstracts.