UPDATE: CFP Edited Volume: Refocus: The Films of John Waters

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Michelle E. Moore
contact email: 



Call for Papers – ReFocus: The Films of John Waters


John Waters’s career has been prolific: directing and writing over 17 feature films and shorts over five decades, as well as writing a handful of books about filmmaking, popular culture and most recently, a novel. And yet, because of his outsider status, which he has maintained by staying rooted in his hometown of Baltimore, his creation of “trash cinema”, an ongoing fascination with the borders of sex and violence, and an emphasis on a do-it-yourself aesthetic and approach to art making and directing, his contributions to the American cinema as a director have been largely overlooked by established film academics. In addition, his work demands new analysis in light of the last decade of LGBTQ film analysis.


We are seeking abstracts of 250-500 words for essays to be included in a book-length anthology on John Waters to appear in 2024/2025. The intended scope of the work is to analyze Waters’s role as an independent filmmaker working from a queer point of view, positioning him in parallel, though not exactly within, the New Hollywood trajectory of the late 1960s and 1970s. It will argue for Waters’s significance as an auteur and a film provocateur whose contributions to queer culture played a major role in bringing marginalized people to the screen.


Possible areas of inquiry could include, but are not limited to:

  • Waters’s films as writer/director
  • Waters and film style
  • Waters and melodrama
  • Waters and cultural taboos
  • Waters and Baltimore
  • Waters and independent filmmaking
  • Waters and Shock Cinema
  • Waters and queer cinema
  • Waters and trans identities
  • Waters and Charles Manson
  • Waters and the 1950s
  • Waters and suburbia
  • Waters and art cinema
  • Waters in popular culture
  • Waters and frequent collaborators
  • Waters and authorship
  • Waters and Body Positivity
  • Waters and #MeToo.
  • Waters and do-it-yourself film making



Areas outside of those listed here are also welcome.


Essays included in the refereed anthology will be of approximately 5,000 to 8,000 words, referenced in Chicago endnote style.


Completed Drafts will be due Mid 2024.



The Films of John Waters will be one of the scholarly editions to be published by Edinburgh University Press in a new series of anthologies examining overlooked American film directors. Series editors are Robert Singer, Ph.D., Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D., and Frances Smith, Ph.D. Volume editors previously published ReFocus: The Films of Paul Schrader (2020).  https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/series-refocus-the-american-directors-series


Please attach a curriculum vitae to your abstract and email them directly to the anthology’s editors by October 31, 2023:


Brian Brems

Professor, English

College of DuPage



Michelle E. Moore, PhD

Professor, English

College of DuPage