CFP: Edited Collection of Essays on Book Clubs

full name / name of organization: 
Julie Tyler, Ph.D.
contact email: 

I am seeking proposals for essays to be included in an edited collection on book clubs and reading communities. Contemporary book clubs are an ubiquitous socio-cultural phenomenon worldwide, having evolved from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century salons and literary societies. There is currently a growing body of scholarship on these groups, including but not limited to Cecelia Farr and Jaime Harker's The Oprah Affect: Critical Essays on Oprah's Book Club, Elizabeth Long's Book Clubs: Women and the Uses of Reading in Everyday Life, and Heather Murray's Come, bright improvement!: The Literary Societies of Nineteenth-Century Ontario. In addition, there is an exciting and valuable body of popular discourse on reading communities that gives voice and authority to members of thriving book clubs who write about their experiences. These include but are not limited to Ellen Slezak's The Book Group Book and Monique Greenwood, Lynda Johnson, and Tracy Mitchell-Brown's The Go On Girl! Book Club Guide for Reading Groups. Given these varied discourses, this edited collection will include both scholarly and popular content and will be accessible and relevant to diverse audiences.

• Strong scholarly proposals will demonstrate innovative and/or interdisciplinary theoretical approaches to investigating this subject matter. In addition, proposed essays should make a compelling argument based on findings from field research on one or more reading communities and their members. Essays based on historical and archival research will also be considered, and scholars interested in investigating electronic and print data (such as Amazon book reviews, blogs, book fairs, summer reading programs, published book club guidebooks) are encouraged to submit a proposal.
• Strong proposals for anecdotal submissions by members of actual book clubs will address the operational, aesthetic, social, and intellectual aspects of the book-club experience and will convey a compelling and engaging narrative.

Each scholarly proposal should be 250-300 words, describing the theoretical approaches, research methods, tentative argument, plans for completing an essay, and relevant professional/biographical information. Each anecdotal proposal should be 250-300 words, describing the book club and its constituency, and should express how the finished anecdote will provide new knowledge about or insight into book-club practice and culture.

To be considered for inclusion in this edited collection, please email proposals to Julie Tyler, by September 1, 2014. I will respond to prospective contributors by email about the status of their proposals by October 1, 2014. Instructions for composing an essay will be included in the Oct. 1st email.