CFP: Serialized Storytelling and Soap Opera - Popular Culture Association, April 17-20, 2019 - Washington, D.C.

MJ Robinson's picture
Call for Papers
October 1, 2018
United States
Subject Fields: 
Film and Film History, Literature, Popular Culture Studies, Political Science, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Serialized storytelling has become a mainstay of contemporary television offerings -- especially in current network, cable, pay TV and streaming series (e.g. Westworld, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Handmaid's Tail, Walking Dead.)  While traditional daytime soap operas continue to attract audiences in the US and the telenovela form remains highly popular internationally, the serialized form is being utilized across advertising, sports entertainment and even politics and political journalism to build and sustain audience in an increasingly fractured landscape.

The Serialized Storytelling and Soap Opera area of the Popular Culture Association welcomes proposals that address serialization as a trope across literary and mediated texts.

Possible areas of investigation include:

  • Seriality in its original form - the Victorian novel, explorations of its narrative employment and deployment.
  • Traditional soap opera - from legacy radio and television soaps no longer on the air (Guiding Light, As the World Turns, All My Children, Dark Shadows, etc.) to those currently airing (Days of Our Lives, Young and the Restless, Bold and the Beautiful, General Hospital.)
  • Serialized storytelling as used by contemporary storytellers in current series such as Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Handmaid's Tale, The Blacklist, Peaky Blinders, Shameless.)
  • How serial narratives in franchises and adaptations manage character arcs, storylines and institutional memory once they have exhausted the original creator's source material (Handmaid's Tale, Orange is the New Black, film franchises based on comics.)
  • Seriality and the creation of episodic series based on real events and people (The Crown, American Crime Story.)
  • Fandom and the serialized form - social media and online community building and commentary.
  • Politicians use of Twitter to create characters/narrative arcs and 'stay tuned' behaviors around government activities and policy decisions.
  • Press briefings as performance space of a new political soap opera.
  • Co-opting of traditonal serialized/soap opera genre markers - the cliff hanger, the stock characters (villian, interloper, hero) by news commentary shows on MSNBC, CNN and FOX to encourage viewership and further meld the journalism of affirmation/realityTV and soap opera into a new televisual infotainment form.

All perspectives are welcome, especially interdisciplinary examinations of seriality as a narrative form and considerations of its impact and usage across multiple forms of communication, text and discourse.

Submit a 250 word proposal to the PCA Database at:

Deadline:  October 1, 2018

The Popular Culture Association Conference will take place from April 17-20, 2018 in Washington, D.C..

Contact Info: 

MJ Robinson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of TV and Radio