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Call for Papers: Joss Whedon’s Firefly

Tuesday 9 April 2013, by Webmaster

Michael Goodrum (Essex) and Philip Smith (Loughborough), Editors

It has been ten years since Joss Whedon’s Firefly (2002-3) was first screened. Although the narrative covered only one season and a film, the series has enjoyed a long afterlife through comic books, a roleplaying game, and the fan community. Despite the continued interest in, and development of, the series, Firefly remains relatively unexplored in academic literature, particularly when compared to the critical attention directed toward Whedon’s earlier series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003).

This volume, comprised of 12 essays, to be published by Scarecrow Press, seeks to address this imbalance. We are looking for 5,000-7,000-word contributions which fall into one of the following broad areas:

- Politics
- Race
- Class
- Agency

Preference will be given to proposals which satisfy one or more of the following criteria:

Contributions which are prepared to challenge, as well as celebrate, Firefly. Consider Firefly in light of the controversy over the casting of Avatar: The Last Airbender (2010), for example. How should we read a series with an abundance of Chinoiserie and very few (if any) Asian actors? How does the uncomplicated, humorous and stylized violence of Firefly and Serenity relate to the high instance of gun violence in the US and the very real violence of American military action overseas?

Contributions which examine Firefly alongside other texts. How does Firefly’s Western/Sci-Fi multicultural landscape compare to the Noir/Sci-Fi multicultural city shown in Blade Runner (1982)? How does the portrayal of Asian cultures compare to that shown in Avatar: The Last Airbender? How does the relationship between the Browncoats and the Alliance compare to the Empire and the Rebels in Star Wars?

Contributions which include a consideration of Firefly and Serenity’s afterlife. How have the comics, roleplaying game and fan-made expansions of the universe changed the series? How have the creators used their respective mediums?

Contributions which show an awareness of existing Firefly scholarship. How does your work relate to the papers in Investigating Firefly and Serenity (2008) and to Christina Rowley’s work on gender in Firefly? What are the limits of the existing scholarship?

Willingness to apply theoretical concepts. Contributions should be prepared to mobilise theory in their approaches to Firefly, particularly if dealing with agency. Willingness to situate Firefly in a broader historical context. How does Firefly engage with prevalent themes in both US history and the history of international relations?

Proposals of 300-500 words should be sent to by May 1, 2013. Proposals should include the author’s email address and affiliation. Full papers will be expected by September 1, 2013.