I am delighted to say that I will be presenting my paper on “Netflix’ Post-Racial Utopias: Diversity, Globalization, and Neoliberalism in Sense8 and The Umbrella Academy” at the 2019 MPCA/ACA Conference (October 10-13, 2019 in Cincinnati, OH).
The recent Netflix originals Sense8 (2015-18) and The Umbrella Academy (2019) present strikingly similar utopias of post-racial queer communities. Both feature a diverse ensemble of characters with supernatural abilities born on the exact same day in different parts of the world. The shows were embraced by their audiences for their progressive representation of multiracial casts and their inclusion of canonically queer characters. However, in this presentation I argue that both Sense8 and The Umbrella Academy co-opt the political ideals of “queerness” and “diversity” for a neoliberal vision of globalization. The series prioritize Western notions of multiculturalism and sexual liberation at the expense of critical discourses on racial, cultural, and economic inequity. Ultimately, I argue that both series can be read as fictional manifestations of Netflix’ business strategy: the expansion of a globalized corporate network carried by global communities of affinity.
I am happy to report that the panel “Behind Bars: Global Mediated Representations of Incarcerated Women” I submitted together with Lauren DeCarvalho and Emily Hiltz was accepted by the organizing committee of Console-ing Passions 2017, which will take place on July 27-29, 2017 in Greenville, NC.
At this conference, I will be speaking about “Hinter Gittern – Der Frauenknast,” a popular German television show from the 1990s:
Mundane Life Behind Bars: The Subversion of Domesticity and Femininity in Hinter Gittern – Der Frauenknast (Behind Bars – The Women’s Pen)
For a decade, the television series Hinter Gittern – Der Frauenknast (Behind Bars – The Women’s Pen, 1997-2007) was an established name in German television, with steady ratings and a dedicated fan base. While scholars have mostly ignored it as trash TV in the past, this paper argues that the show deserves serious consideration for the ways it employed the repetitive (that is, the serial) structure of prison life, and the spatial restrictions of the prison environment to push the narrative structure of the classic soap opera genre to its extreme. The show used the prison setting to establish a stable framework within which characters and plots could develop without ever breaking the basic narrative premise: prison served as the microcosm showing a condensed, intensified version of everyday, mundane life. At the same time, the relocation of the female-oriented, often romance- and domesticity-focused soap opera genre into the ‘tough’ prison world allowed for the subversion of soap clichés, in particular the representation of female characters, including their motivations, backstories, and relationships. For example, Hinter Gittern offered complex representations of lesbian love and sexuality at a time when the mere acknowledgment of homosexuality in mainstream popular culture was still a rarity. Within the transnational context of this panel, Hinter Gittern is of interest also because it illustrates the typical combination of domestic normalization and romanticizing that characterizes German popular representations of prisoners – thus demonstrating the relationship between specific national penal systems and the cultural fantasies of prison life developing from these contexts.
WRFI staff member Ke Ouyang attended the conference From Cell to Cell: The Prison in Television and Performance on October 29th held by the Cornell Performing and Media Arts department that I co-organized. Following the conference, she produced this news feature on the topic which includes many of the conference participants.
Listen to the interview on the WRFI website here.
From Cell to Cell: The Prison in Television and Performance is a one-day conference gathering scholars, artists, and activists to explore the intersections between theatre and performance-based prison work, especially in relation to different forms of activism, and televisual representations of incarceration. This free and public event will begin at 10:00 am in the Film Forum of the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts at Cornell University on October 29, 2016. It is coordinated by Nick Fesette, Kriszta Pozsonyi, and Hannah Mueller. The facebook page for the event is here.
My essay “Between Crossbow and Ball Gown, East and West: Class and Gender in the Cult Film Three Wishes for Cinderella (Tři Oříšky Pro Popelku/Drei Haselnüsse für Aschenbrödel)” has appeared in the anthology Television Beyond and Across the Iron Curtain, edited by Kirsten Bönker, Julia Obertreis and Sven Grampp. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016.
See here for more information, including table of contents and reading sample.
The panel on the Prison TV genre that I have organized with Alan Pike (Emory) has been accepted for the SCMS 2016 conference. I’m excited to be working with so many great people!
Orange is the New Black (c) Netflix
Panel Title: Prison is the New Guilty Pleasure: “Orange is the New Black,” the Prison TV Genre, and the Prison-Industrial Complex
Chair: Hannah Mueller, Alan Pike
“We Do Everything Around Here”: An Analysis of Litchfield Penitentiary as a Workplace on “Orange is the New Black”/Lauren DeCarvalho, Nicole Cox
Soap Opera vs. Dropping the Soap: The Gendered Representation of Prison Inmates on TV/Hannah Mueller
Digital Pleasures: Surrendering to the Affective and Temporal Mobility of “Orange is the New Black”/Kyra Pearson
The Prison Genre on Premium Television, from “Oz” to “Orange is the New Black”/Alan Pike
We just got the exciting news that our panel for the next SCMS conference was accepted. So I’m going to be on a panel on male nudity in cable TV with a bunch of awesome people:
Full-Frontal TV: Male Nudity and Sex in Cable Television Drama
Chair: Maria San Filippo
Respondent: Peter Lehman
Looking for the Penis: Representing Gay Male Sex and Nudity in HBO’s ‘Looking’/Maria San Filippo
“Do You Really Want to be Normal?”: Male Nudity as Queer Critique on ‘Penny Dreadful’/Andrew Owens
“Jupiter’s Cock!”: Male Nudity, Violence, and the Disruption of Voyeuristic Pleasure in Starz’ ‘Spartacus’/Hannah Mueller
For the abstract of my paper (and a glimpse of the show), see after the cut [BEWARE NUDITY] Continue reading
In the midst of the discussion about BBC’s plans to shut down the television channel BBC3, fans of the BBC3 production “In the Flesh” are concerned about the future of the show.
Source: reginalds @ tumblr
Here are some of the things online fans have been up to since the finale of season 2 in June 2014:
So you want to help save In the Flesh? @ tumblr
Save In the Flesh @ tumblr
Give In the Flesh a Third Season @ Change.org
Save in the Flesh on Twitter
And here’s why this show is worth caring about, especially if you are interested in the representation of LGBT characters, female characters, the representation of mental illness, and zombies: The Daily Dot on In the Flesh