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“High Fantasy, Political Dreams, and the Mainstream: Reflections on Game of Thrones”

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Deadline: Dec 15, 2017.


The Canadian Review of American Studies (University of Toronto Press) is seeking papers for a special issue on the Game of Thrones fantasy series.


With nearly 11 million viewers and a staggering one billion illegal downloads of the most recent season, HBO’s television adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series has entered the pantheon of cultural phenomena. Yet, the success of GoT belies the fact that its generic underpinnings have historically been considered a niche category of fiction, one that seldom dominates mainstream discourses. The popularity of GoT may thus suggest a cultural shift, particularly in the realm of prestige television, away from realist fiction, such as The Wire, Oz, and The Sopranos, and a turn towards explicit escapism. But what does GoT offer an escape from? What does GoT posit as an alternative? Or does GoT function as allegory, establishing a lens through which to re-contextualize the milieu in which its audience watches, discusses, organizes viewing parties for, and is otherwise consumed by the series?

With a focus on GoT, this special issue of Canadian Review of American Studies invites a reconsideration of the role of fantasy in the contemporary American moment.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

· The politics of dreams and fantasy

· The relationship between history, memory, and fantasy

· Gendered violence and power (im)balances in fantasy

· The role of the non-human in imagined pasts

· Racial dynamics and representation

· Spectacle and political intrigue

· Affect and the ethics of representation

Please send inquiries for this special issue to the editors, Jonathan Chau and Chris Vanderwees.

Final papers due by December 15, 2017.

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