CFP: Science Fiction Television and the Politics of Space

Edited Collection Call for Papers
Deadline for Submissions: April 9th, 2019

In the last twenty years, we have witnessed a surge in the creation of science fiction television shows, the securing of larger budgets for their production, and their movement from the margins of cultural consumption into the mainstream, with shows like Battlestar Galactica and Westworld.  Their popularity seems to reflect what is referred to as “peak TV” – a contemporary Golden Age of television production, and the ease of access to this programming through digital technologies – but also to the enduring and, indeed, growing fascination with the imaginative, challenging, and sometimes prophetic qualities of the genre, which frequently addresses contemporary political and cultural issues.

In this same period, the so-called “spatial turn” across academic disciplines has greatly influenced popular culture.  A focus on “place” and “space” in academia, led by the influential work of Henri Lefebvre, Michel de Certeau, and Michel Foucault, now finds a contemporary society increasingly conscious of the spaces it creates and inhabits – with population growth, technological development, and the increasing threat of ecocide just some of the processes impacting our use, understanding, and construction of spaces physical, social, and imagined.  We have become a space-conscious age.  At the same time, new technologies and social media have made the world a “smaller,” busier, and more connected place.  Under such conditions, societies’ various “spaces” have become increasingly politicised. Indeed, Lefebvre argues that they always have been, that the construction, ownership, and regulation of space (physical, cultural, and social) is about wealth, power, and control.

While science fiction genre television has often been ostensibly concerned with outer space (e.g. Star Trek: Next Generation), it has also reflected upon the inner space of the mind (e.g. Dollhouse), and regularly reflects our own cultural “spaces” – it has, for example, been greatly effective at considering the politics of our own time (e.g. Black Mirror).  It is, therefore, our aim with this edited collection to examine the numerous ways that space is used, explained, represented, and manipulated in science fiction television; in other words, we call for papers that explore the politics of space in science fiction television.

Deadline for proposals: 9 April, 2019.  (Final papers will be of around 5000 words.)At this time, Bloomsbury has expressed an interest in this project.

Our understanding of the terms “space” and “politics” is broad, to allow a greater scope for critical response.  Papers will primarily examine shows and their “spaces” through languages and/or theories of space and place.  Discussion (and types) of space might include, but is not limited to:
– Movement, Travel, and practise of, and in space
– The cult of mainstream space the show inhabits
– Spaces that contain or exclude
– The effects of technology on space
– The space (or medium of the show), e.g. short or long series, webisodes, Netflix
– Original, streamed programming
– Adaptation of a book into a television show
– Reboots or spinoffs of shows
“Spaces” of fans and fandom

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