CFP: Audience Reception, Diversity, & Cancel Culture on TV

deadline for submissions: 
January 10, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Jonina Anderson-Lopez/University of South Florida

We have been invited by McFarland to expand a recent article on diversity and cancel culture in television (Anderson-Lopez et al., 2021) for a book proposal further exploring the phenomenon of audience sway over television content. Please see the CFP below and feel free to reach out to us with questions. We hope to turn around the book proposal to McFarland in a timely manner, so please note the January 10, 2022, deadline for 300-500 word chapter proposals. We look forward to reading your submissions and collaborating on this edited collection!


Gina Anderson-Lopez, Ph.D., University of South Florida
R.J. Lambert, Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina
Allison Budaj, Ph.D., Ameritech College of Healthcare
Correspondence to: 

Call for Chapter Proposals:

Tug of War: The Impact of Audience Reception on Television Production and Characterization

Hate the most recent season of a television show? Create a viral petition! Better yet, find an old tweet of a cast member to publicly shame them. On shows like Girls and The 100, audience reception has influenced creative decisions for plotlines and characterization. In other audience spheres, "cancel culture" has been derided for critiquing Dave Chappelle, Roseanne Bar, and The Mandalorian's Gina Carano. Interestingly, the idea of “cancel culture” has even been self-consciously explored within television plotlines for Younger and The Good Fight. These are but a few examples of audience participation's influence on television content in a social-networked age. 

Though audiences are not a new constraint on creative content, they increasingly communicate demands on television writers and studios to shape productions. The reach and effectiveness of such demands is, in part, the result of social media platforms that allow for opinions to quickly spread and gather mainstream attention among news outlets and critics. This dynamic relationship between creators, audiences, and critics can help boost or sink shows. Although creators and commercial distributors have always considered audience desires to some degree, the online visibility of contemporary audience feedback regularly impacts television entertainment. Sometimes dismissed as “cancel culture” or "snowflakes," the amplification of user sentiment nonetheless advocates effectively for increased diversity and inclusion on TV.

We envision a collection of chapters grounded primarily in audience reception as an interpretive lens. A rift between traditional criticism and popular receptions of media “raises a key issue regarding the use of film criticism in reception studies: to what extent can the critics’ views be taken as representative?” (Chapman et al., 2007, p. 195). In an age of new “media citizenship” and “the ethics of performativity” (Elsaesser, 2004, p. 76), this question may be extended to revise (and re-envision) the very function of the critic, getting to the heart of contemporary reception studies. 

While audiences react to several genres of fictional and nonfictional entertainment, the editors invite chapter proposals that investigate (primarily) online audience reception of recent or current television shows. Prospective contributors may draw on any aspect of reception theory (broadly conceived or theorized) as it relates to the influence of online and social media audience participation on television shows, including plots, characterization, cancellations, reboots, or casting and other production issues. We explicitly encourage a diversity of voices drawing on diverse scholarly traditions to submit proposals. We also welcome submissions from scholars at any stage of their career, whether graduate students, independent scholars, or appointed faculty members.

The final book proposal to McFarland will accommodate the accepted proposals from this CFP.Our preliminary list of book sections includes the following possible chapter topics within each section. This is by no means an exhaustive or prescriptive list, so please feel free to propose additional topics that relate to the book proposal's themes. 

I. Theoretical Chapters on Reception Theory and Audience Analysis in Television.

  • How does the viewing public perform the role of film critic through new media participation?

  • How may we understand internet fandom and social media campaigns in the context of reception studies and audience analysis?

II. Investigating Cancel Culture as Audience Reception.

  • Theoretical chapters on cancel culture from a reception/audience studies perspective.

  • Roseanne Barr, Roseanne, and The Connors

  • Dave Chapelle's Netflix comedy specials 

  • Gina Carano of The Mandalorian over political social media posts

III. Reception of Racial, Ethnic, And Cultural Diversity in TV.

  • Theoretical chapters about racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity in TV.

  • Audience critiques of essentialism or tokenism in racial and ethnic representations.

  • Case studies (e.g., Girls).

IV. LGBTQIA+ Representation in TV.

  • Theoretical chapters on reception of LGBTQIA+ in TV.

  • Queerbaiting in television show plots and advertising.

  • Netflix (or other platforms/channels) increasing queer representation in streaming.

  • "Bury Your Gays" TV character trope (e.g., The 100).

V.  Political and Religious Critiques of TV.

  • Comparative analyses of consevative versus progressive audience receptions and critiques.

  • Religious organizations and groups critiquing TV content.

  • Political organizations and groups critiquing TV content.

VI. Ageism in TV Casting and Characterization.

  • Portrayals of elderly characters.

  • Casting choices.

VII. Ableism and Disability TV Representation.

  • Tokenism and essentialism in characterization and plots.

  • Casting choices (e.g., Glee, Atypical).

VIII. Self-Conscious Television Responses to Cancel Culture.

  • Maggie (Debi Mazar) as a cancelled NYC artist on Younger.

  • Cancel culture lawsuits in The Good Fight.

IX. Other topics for possible investigation.

  • Killing off characters based on audience reception (e.g., Nikki and Paulo from Lost).

  • Censorship.

  • Audience reception of televised violence.

  • International availability or restrictions of popular U.S. television shows.

  • How shows from the past were received versus how they are received now.

  • We welcome any other theoretical or case-based proposal that relates to this CFP.

Chapter Proposal Process and Timeline:

The editors invite 300-500-word abstracts with a reference list and a separate CV listing prior presentations or publications.  Deadlines are as follows:

  • Monday, Jan. 10, 2022     300-500-word abstracts and CVs received

  • Monday, Feb. 14, 2022     Preliminary acceptances/feedback on all proposals

  • Monday, Mar. 14, 2022     Revised abstracts and bios from contributors

  • Monday, Mar. 21, 2022    Final book proposal submitted to McFarland

  • Monday, Jun. 13, 2022    First full drafts due (6,000-8,000 words)

Please submit proposals and inquiries to: 



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Anderson-Lopez, J., Lambert, R. J., & Budaj, A. (2021). Tug of war: Social media, cancel culture, and diversity for Girls and The 100. KOME - An International Journal of Pure Communication Inquiry, 9(1), 64-84.

Beard, J. (2020). Click bait, cancel culture, and the rhetoric of civil discourse. Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy. 

Bouvier, G. (2020). Racist call-outs and cancel culture on Twitter: The limitations of the platform’s ability to define issues of social justice. Discourse, Context & Media, 38, 100431.

Chapman, J., Glancy, M., & Harper, S. (2007). The New Film History: Sources, Methods, Approaches. Palgrave Macmillan.

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Guerrero-Pico, M. (2017). #Fringe, audiences, and fan labor: Twitter activism to save a TV show from cancellation. International Journal of Communication, 11, 2071–2092. 

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Keightly, E. (2008). Engaging with memory. In M. Pickering (Ed.), Research Methods for Cultural Studies (pp. 175-192). Edinburgh University Press. 

Nagy, J., & Midha, A. (2015). The value of earned audiences: how social interactions amplify TV impact: What programmers and advertisers can gain from earned social impressions. Journal of Advertising Research, 54(4), 448.

Ng, E. (2020). No grand pronouncements here...: Reflections on cancel culture and digital media participation. Television & New Media, 21(6), Online First Publication. 

Parker Beard, J. C. (2020). Click bait, cancel culture, and the rhetoric of civic discourse. Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy.

Shirky, C. (2011). The political power of social media: Technology, the public sphere, and political change. Foreign Affairs, 90(1), 28–41.

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