Transformative Scenes: Metamorphosis and Popular Culture Edited Collection

deadline for submissions: 
May 4, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Sophia Staite

Transformative Scenes: Metamorphosis and Popular Culture

The frantic, sometimes overwhelming pace of social and technological change in the past half-century has been reflected in popular culture’s fascination with the images and possibilities of individual characters’ physical transformations. Known in Japanese media as the ‘henshin scene’, these depictions of physical metamorphosis, such as Usagi becoming Sailor Moon, differ from the costume change of Clark Kent/Superman as the body itself metamorphosises into a different form. It differs again from the mutation of the Ninja Turtles or of André Delambre in The Fly, as these are singular, permanent changes. Instead, metamorphosising characters such as She-Raor Dr. Jekyll change back and forth with some measure of control over the process. Scenes of bodily metamorphosis, described by Anne Allison as the “money shot” of these media texts, are staples of both animated and live-action media in genres including superhero, horror, and magical girl.

This edited collection brings together scholars from a diverse range of disciplines to explore what it is about the act of metamorphosis or the staging of the transformation scene that has allowed this trope to retain such a grip on the popular imagination around the world. Timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Kamen Rider Kuuga in 2025, an iconic television series credited with revitalising the henshin scene in Japanese media, this book sets out to transform our understanding of the transformationtrope in popular culture and interrogates what our collective fascination with transformation may mean.


Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

-          Grotesque transformations, cyborgs, post-humanism, and body panics

-          Social, cultural, and politics trends reflected in transformation works

-          Henshin hero fandom and fandom transformations

-          Gender and metamorphosis

-          Nostalgia and remakes of classic transformation texts

-          Transcultural media flows and international collaborations/adaptations

-          Metamorphosis and representations of disability

-          Metamorphosisand material culture: toys and collectables

-          Live-action transformation scenesand animated transformation scenes

-          Transformation scenes in live theatre

-          The role of music in transformation scenes

-          Metamorphosisfashions, fashion in metamorphosis

-          The transformation scene in video games

-          Transformation scenes in ‘still’ media such as manga or novels

Please send an abstract of 250-300 words together with a short (100 words max) bio to by May 4th 2024, with final papers expected by August 2024.