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Janet Staiger <[log in to unmask]>
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 11 Nov 2020 13:08:46 -0600
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The Velvet Light Trap #89
Media Awards: Beyond the EGOT

The "big four" American entertainment awards-­the 
Emmy for television, the Grammy for music, the 
Oscar for film, and the Tony for theater, often 
referred to by the "EGOT" acronym--have long 
served as a barometer of mainstream taste 
cultures in their respective fields. While 
literature on media awards is not completely 
absent, its scope has been narrow. Popular press 
works on the somewhat standardized journalistic 
narratives surrounding the EGOT, particularly the 
Oscars. Scholarly literature has largely focused 
on awards as they pertain to the international 
art cinema circuit and its attached film 
festivals, such as the Cannes Film Festival.

This call, while respecting the literature that 
addresses these familiar narratives, intends to 
reimagine and reinvigorate discussion of 
entertainment awards and their meaning within the media industries.

Awards are a near-ubiquitous feature of media 
cultures across mediums, narrative forms, 
industrial roles, and both geopolitical and 
virtual spaces: The Nolly Awards, for the span of 
a few years, recognized achievement in Nollywood 
films, i.e. the cinema of Nigeria; TikTok user 
Ashley Hufford (@ashleyhufford) recently sought 
to establish the Tik Tok Tony Awards; The Ursa 
Major Awards is awarded for "the furry arts." 
What purpose do these and other awards serve for 
their respective communities, beyond the 
oft-stated objective of recognizing excellence? 
In what cases do awards recognize achievement in 
areas beyond the media text? In what aspects of 
the media industries are awards rarely given, but 
excellence still expected? When is the stated 
purpose or ultimate effect of an award something 
distinctly separate from excellence?

Furthermore, we are interested in the 
intersection of awards with critical discourse on 
political, social, and identity-based issues. 
Media award shows have long served as a locus for 
the discussion of issues through sartorial 
statements, protests on and off the red carpet, 
and political statements in acceptance speeches 
or other awards forums. Recent conversations 
about inclusion and equity for marginalized 
communities in nominations and organizational 
membership have served to highlight the 
institutionalized bigotry of the media industries 
and media cultures more generally. This advocacy 
has come from many perspectives, both within 
those industries, from cultural intermediaries in 
the fourth estate, and from vocal audience 
members. Such discussions have been accompanied 
by some change, including the establishment of 
the Academy Inclusion Standards in 2020, and the 
2019 Tony for Best Musical Revival going to 
Oklahoma!, a production which transformed the 
traditional work into an allegory for racism and 
intolerance in contemporary America. It remains 
to be seen, however, whether these gestures 
signal a larger, permanent shift towards equity, 
or whether they will remain largely symbolic 
events. Media awards thus provide a microcosm of 
larger representational concerns, one that can 
serve as a rich point of study for scholarly inquiry.

The Velvet Light Trap #89 seeks to challenge and 
expand our understanding of media awards so that 
we may better understand the media ecologies that 
support such events. These awards bridge media 
criticism, sociocultural issues, national and 
international politics, and cultures of art and 
entertainment into discourses both in and outside 
of the mainstream. We welcome submissions that 
push the boundaries of current media awards 
literature, use media award contexts as key case 
studies, or exploring any of the following themes:

-- Reimagining our approach to or conception of 
major awards, "awards seasons," and their 
attendant discourses, including the Oscars, Tonys, Emmys, and Grammys
-- Media awards outside North American and Anglophone contexts
-- The various meanings of entertainment and 
media award shows in relation to the local, national, and global contexts.
-- Historical media awards (currently ongoing or 
defunct), particularly situated within sociocultural contexts
-- Explorations of the various cultural 
intermediaries that enable and coordinate the 
hubbub of "awards seasons," including critics, culture writers, and so on
-- Recognition of technical, below-the-line, 
organizational, or corporate achievement
-- Recognition of achievement for communities of 
color and marginalized groups (e.g., NAACP Image 
Awards, the Unforgettable Gala)
-- Recognition of achievement in marginalized 
groups (e.g., the GLAAD Media Awards, the Mental 
Health Media Awards, the Media Access Awards)
-- Recognition of achievement in media 
subcultures, communities, or genres (e.g., the 
Ursa Major Awards, the Saturn Awards, the r/Aww Awards)
-- Recognition of achievement in pornography 
(e.g., the PornHub Awards, the GayVN Awards)
-- Recognition of social media and digital 
content achievement (e.g., the American 
Influencer Awards, the Webby Awards, the Streamy Awards, the Shorty Awards)
-- Recognition of achievement in video games 
(e.g., the Game Awards, the Game Critics Awards)
-- Recognition of achievement in comics and 
animation (e.g., the Annie Awards, the Eisner Awards)
-- Recognition of achievement in understudied, 
under-recognized or niche media types
-- Intentionally subversive media-related awards (e.g., the Razzies)
-- Recognition of achievement in relation to 
conventions and/or fandom-specific contexts
-- Controversies related to a specific 
media-related award, award show, or win/loss

Submission Guidelines
Submissions should be between 6,000 and 7,500 
words, formatted in Chicago Style. Please submit 
an electronic copy of the paper, along with a 
separate one-page abstract, both saved as a 
Microsoft Word file. Remove any identifying 
information so that the submission is suitable 
for anonymous review. Quotations not in English 
should be accompanied by translations. Send 
electronic manuscripts and/or any questions to 
[log in to unmask] by January 31, 2021.

About the Journal
TVLT is a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal of 
film, television, and new media. The journal 
draws on a variety of theoretical and 
historiographical approaches from the humanities 
and social sciences and welcomes any effort that 
will help foster the ongoing processes of 
evaluation and negotiation in media history and 
criticism. While TVLT maintains its traditional 
commitment to the study of American film, it also 
expands its scope to television and other media, 
to adjacent institutions, and to other nations' 
media. The journal encourages both approaches and 
objects of study that have been neglected or excluded in past scholarship.

Graduate students at the University of Wisconsin 
at Madison and the University of Texas at Austin 
coordinate issues in alternation, and each issue 
is devoted to a particular theme. TVLT's 
Editorial Advisory Board includes such notable 
scholars as Ben Aslinger, Caitlin Benson-Allott, 
Lauren S. Berliner, Dolores Ines Casillas, Aymar 
Jean Christian, Lisa Dombrowski, Raquel Gates, 
Dan Herbert, Deborah Jaramillo, Lori Morimoto, 
Meenasarani (Linde) Murugan, Safia Noble, Bob 
Rehak, Debra Ramsay, Bonnie Ruberg, Avi Santo, 
Samantha Noelle Sheppard, Dan Streible, Neil 
Verma, and Alyx Vesey. TVLT's graduate student 
editors are assisted by their local faculty 
advisors: Mary Beltran, Ben Brewster, Jonathan 
Gray, Lea Jacobs, Derek Johnson, Shanti Kumar, 
Charles Ramirez Berg, Thomas Schatz, and Janet Staiger (emeritus).

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