Email address correction: proposals should be sent to both Dr Su Holmes (Susan.firstname.lastname@example.org) and Professor Diane Negra (Diane.email@example.com) by 28 February, 2009.
In the Limelight and Under the Microscope: Forms and Functions of Female Celebrity
Edited by Diane Negra and Su Holmes
Proposals are sought for an edited collection on the politics of female celebrity across a range of contemporary, historical, media and national contexts. From Reality TV, gossip blogging and media scandals, to narratives of the celebrity ‘trainwreck’ or breakdown, women are positioned at the centre of contemporary celebrity culture. Although film studies and media studies have long since examined questions of gender at the level of star or celebrity image, attempts to explore the wider ‘gendering’ of fame as a concept, set of ideologies and representational practices have been marginal. Indeed, in 2000, Christine Geraghty observed how women are ‘particularly likely to be seen as celebrities [rather than ‘stars’] whose working life is of less interest than their personal life’ (Geraghty, 2000: 12) – in part because women are more identified with the private sphere, and their value as ‘workers’ in the public sphere has historically had to struggle for cultural legitimacy. Yet despite the fact that the media and cultural fascination with the ‘private’ lives and identities of the famous has accelerated substantially since Geraghty was writing, and despite the fact that the apparently devalued currency of celebrity – the now familiar laments regarding the decline of ‘talent’ and ‘work’ – have been articulated with increasing fervor, there has been little academic analysis of the significance of the gendered politics of celebrity. This collection will seek to interrogate the representational tropes and map the broad terrain of female celebrity.
Questions/ topics may include, but are not limited to:
• How is the perceived uncoupling of talent from fame a particularly gendered phenomenon? Is it postfeminist?
• To what extent has Reality TV functioned to articulate gendered forms of fame?
• How do codes for celebrity representation articulate sexist logics (and how might these intersect with discourses of race, age, class and sexuality)?
• To what extent are these discourses ‘new’, and how can we excavate historical precedents?
• How are gendered constructions of celebrity particularized within national contexts?
• What contemporary/ historical views about ‘appropriate’ forms of femininity are articulated via the representation of female celebrities?
• How does the surveillance of the female celebrity body – in such forms as plastic surgery narratives, celebrity magazines and internet gossip blogging – function within this context?
• What drives the fascination/repulsion for ‘bad’ women/girls in celebrity culture?
• How do new delivery systems such as YouTube, and older ones like celebrity magazines, favor and foster the spectacle of female ‘train wreck’ celebrity?
• How do discourses of motherhood, maternalism, family, the ‘work/life balance’ and the concept of the celebrity couple shape images of female celebrity?
• How are female celebrities placed in an expanded environment of paparazzism and mainstreamed tabloid media?
Please send proposals (maximum 300 words), accompanied by a short biographical note, to Dr Su Holmes (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Professor Diane Negra (email@example.com) by 28 February, 2009.