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The following is a CFP for a proposed panel at SCMS 2013.

After Buffy: W(h)ither the Potentials?

March 2013 sees the 10-year anniversary of the US broadcast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s final episode.  Over the past decade, both the programme and its protagonist’s place in the annals of television drama have been continually debated by fans, critics and academics alike.  Indeed, creator Joss Whedon’s recent success as both writer and director of Marvel’s Avengers movie (not least for his achievement in championing another strong female heroine within a traditionally male-dominated environment) has, once again, helped bring Buffy forward in popular, critical and academic imaginaries.  Therefore it seems an opportune time to examine the legacy of the programme’s protagonist in relation to the television ‘landscape’ of the past decade.  

The programme’s finale ended with Buffy facing an unknown future, having been released from the burden of being the only (morally responsible) Slayer by a spell cast by Willow (a newly-created Goddess). Yet that same spell empowered every girl with the potential to be a Slayer to become one, with these girls actually referred to as ‘potentials’ within the text.  The programme’s oft-exalted ‘progressive’ portrayal of Buffy in particular - and female characters in general - can similarly be seen as a potential ushering in of a new era in representations of women in ‘genre’ television.

This panel therefore seeks to examine how this legacy has fared or, indeed, whether such a legacy can be said to exist.  It is envisaged that each of the four papers focus on a different female protagonist from American science-fiction/fantasy/horror television programmes debuting in the last ten years.  Whilst papers that focus exclusively on gender are welcome, we hope to create a panel that examines a wide array of representational issues, and how female characters have been used to interrogate various aspects of personal, social and/or cultural concerns in the years ‘after Buffy’.

Please send abstracts of 250 words along with a short bio to Rhys Thomas ([log in to unmask]) and Sophie Halliday ([log in to unmask]) by August 10th. Notifications will be made by August 15th.

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Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: http://www.tcf.ua.edu