Ethan and Joel Coen’s The Big Lebowski (1998) is lauded as the first cult film of the internet age, due in no small part to the role played by online communities in its gradual rise to popularity. It sees a travelling festival dedicated to it, The Lebowski Fest, celebrated annually across various cities in the USA and the UK since 2002 and 2008 respectively. Over years, the film’s protagonist has garnered such adoration that it led to the formation of a contemporary religion, Dudeism, in 2005, with a community of more than 600,000 members worldwide ordained through its simple online procedure. After being trashed initially, the film has gone on to garner critical acclaim and was even added to the USA's Library of Congress’ National Treasury in 2014. It has also drawn a fair share of scholarly attention with time in critical anthologies such as The Year's Work in Lebowski Studies (2009), The Big Lebowski and Philosophy: Keeping Your Mind Limber with Abiding Wisdom (2012), and Fan Phenomena: The Big Lebowski (2014). However, these represent only a fraction of the vast body of literature on the film, with numerous (aca)fan books, fan theories, and online forums passionately dissecting it as well. The film seems to have sustained its cultural relevance over the years — as evidenced by a Super Bowl commercial featuring its protagonist as well as popular films like Avengers: Endgame referencing it, in 2019, and a spinoff titled The Jesus Rolls releasing in 2020. As recently as August 2021, a reddit user posited that the underlying message of The Big Lebowski is more relevant now than it has ever been.
As the 25th anniversary of its release draws closer, we look to revisit The Big Lebowski to facilitate and foster further scholarly dialogue on this film which seems well on its way to becoming a cultural artefact. For this, we seek original contributions of qualitative research that offer fresh perspectives on The Big Lebowski from a myriad of vantage points and analytical frameworks. Prospective strands of discussion include but are not limited to:
• Film theory and The Big Lebowski
• The filmography of the Coen brothers
• The Big Lebowski’s b(l)ending of conventional genre norms
• Cyberculture and The Big Lebowski
• Fan(dom) studies and The Big Lebowski
• The Lebowski lexicon
• Philosophical readings of The Big Lebowski
• Comparative studies of The Big Lebowski
• The Big Lebowski in and as adaptation
• Gender in The Big Lebowski
• Queer aesthetics in The Big Lebowski
• Reading The Big Lebowski through critical race theory
• The Big Lebowski beyond the anglophone world
We welcome interested contributors to submit Abstracts of around 250 words along with a bio- note of no more than 150 words as a single MS Word (.doc or .docx) file to [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]> by 31 January 2022. Authors of selected Abstracts will be invited to contribute full papers for a Special Section/Issue of the CINEJ Cinema Journal to be published around the 25th anniversary of The Big Lebowski’s release.
• Abstract (250 words) Deadline: 31 January 2022
• Intimation of Selection: 1 March 2022
• Full paper (5,000-7,000 words) Deadline: 1 July 2022
• Publication: Early 2023
• Elloit Cardozo, independent scholar, Mumbai, India
• Dr. Sachin Labade, Associate Professor of English, University of Mumbai, India
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