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Call for papers - special issue of Critical Studies in Television on Ephemeral Television
Catherine Johnson (University of Nottingham) and Elke Weissman (Edge Hill University)
Raymond Williams’s Television as a Cultural Form (1974) continues to be considered a central text in television studies. Despite its role in identifying aspects of medium specificity and its standing in the television studies canon, very little television research has actually looked at aspects of ‘flow’ as Williams described it: namely the intersection of different texts into the main programme text. What such a description highlights (as Jonathan Gray (2010) has explored in his study of media paratexts) is the centrality of smaller, non-programme texts to the experience of television, and the role of intersecting meanings assembled from a variety of sources. At the same time, however, digitalisation is transforming television, challenging the nature, composition and significance of television’s flow. New textual forms, such as interfaces, websites, games and apps, increasingly shape our interactions with programmes, channels and broadcasters. What these new textual forms have in common with the interstitial texts the constitute Williams’ flow of linear broadcast television is their ephemerality.
In his edited collection, Ephemeral Media, Paul Grainge (2011) demonstrates the value of subjecting ephemeral media texts to academic scrutiny. This special issue of of the journal Critical Studies in Television aims to build on this work in order to focus attention on, first, the often overlooked ephemera that circulate in and around television and, second, the intersecting meanings raised by them in relation to programmes, channels, broadcasters and the nature of television itself. The term ephemeral suggests the transient and short-lived, and this special edition is interested in articles on both short-form and (apparently) short-lived media forms that circulate around television programmes, such as trailers, adverts and idents. However, the editors also invite papers that challenge us to consider the nature of television ephemera today and in the past, through explorations of new ephemeral forms such as the electronic programme guide, web interfaces and social media, and their historical antecedents. The editors welcome papers that could address (but need not be restricted to) the following themes:
• Historical and contemporary examples of flow or ephemeral television such as trailers, adverts, weather reports, channel idents, continuity announcements, websites, interfaces, apps, interstitials etc.
• Changes to the understanding and standing of ephemeral television as a result of digitalisation and a diversity of forms of engagement with television
• Ephemera connected to television that intersect with the programme text or institutional meanings, such as Twitter feeds, additional content, broadcaster/programme websites etc.
• The production cultures of ephemeral television, including issues related to creativity, labour, the organisation and management of work, scheduling and curation, and so on.
• The challenges that analysing television ephemera raise for television studies conceptually and methodologically, and the problems television ephemera raise for archiving.
Proposals for articles of 5,000-6,000 words, in the form of an abstract of 400-500 words should be submitted to the editors of the special edition (Catherine Johnson: [log in to unmask], and Elke Weissman: [log in to unmask]) by 29 May 2015. Authors will be informed of acceptance in July 2015. Final articles will be due in December 2015. All articles will be subject to peer review.
Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite