The Coming Freedom: Censoring Queer Lives, Bodies, and Books

deadline for submissions: 
September 1, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Kurt Milberger & Hannah Shearer The Journal of Popular Culture
contact email: 

The Journal of Popular Culture Special Issue Call for Papers

The Coming Freedom: Censoring Queer Lives, Bodies, and Books

About this Issue

As attacks on LGBTQIA+ people, medical care, and books proliferate in the United States and beyond, this special issue of The Journal of Popular Culture explores the tragically many and varied ways in which queer lives, bodies, and books have been censored by law, policy, society, and the family through the lens of popular culture. We seek to both understand these challenges and memorialize those who have confronted and overcome them. As Foucault (1990) puts it in the History of Sexuality,“If sex is repressed … condemned to prohibition, nonexistence, and silence, then the mere fact that one is speaking about it has the appearance of deliberate transgression. A person who holds forth in such language places themselves to a certain extent outside the reach of power; he upsets established law; he somehow anticipates the coming freedom” (6).

This issue of The Journal of Popular Culture dedicated to the coming freedom will focus on LGBTQIA+ censorship in terms of its impact on writers, artists, directors, musicians, fans, and other creators who have fought, struggled, and otherwise reckoned with their identity through popular culture. The essays will go beyond traditional conceptions of censorship with the goal of drawing attention to those who have been overlooked, ignored, or otherwise left out of the scholarly conversation. Essays might also consider:

  • Representation in literature, film, television, streaming, and other media
  • Intersections of identity, class, race, disability, and other factors
  • Relationships between culture and regulation, law, or policy
  • The role of nature, environment, or space in the regulation of rhetoric, bodies, etc.
  • The Hays Code, the Comstock Act, library book bans, and anti-ALA bills
  • How resistance to censorship encourages audiences and culture to create change
  • How audiences, cultures, and others react to or critique boundary crossing
  • Rhetorical or stylistic responses (e.g., queer coding) to censorship
  • Dog whistles, violence, policing, and other anti-queer rhetoric or activity

We seek manuscripts fitting this issue’s theme from a broad array of disciplinary orientations, including (but not limited to) film and television studies, new media studies, the humanities, political economy, communication, cultural studies, sociology, and marketing. We are especially interested in the work of diverse and early career scholars and graduate students.

Submissions Information

Please send abstracts (500 words) to kmilberg(at) and hsheare1(at) by September 1. Completed articles will be due January 15. Articles should be between 5,000 and 7,500 words in length and conform to The Journal of Popular Culture’s “Submission Guidelines” in terms of format and citation style. Articles will be vetted by the issue editors before completing the journal’s regular peer review process. Publication is expected in late 2025.

Foucault, Michel. 1990. The History of Sexuality: An Introduction. Translated by Robert Hurley. New York: Vintage Books.