Editors: Dr. Melanie Robson (UNSW Sydney), Dr. Jessica Ford (University of Newcastle, Australia) and Dr. Phoebe Macrossan (Queensland University of Technology)

In his 20 years in the US television industry Ryan Murphy has amassed a large and diverse body of television work. Murphy exemplifies the modern TV mogul, operating as an executive producer, creator, showrunner, writer and director on a wide range of series. Murphy is well-known for creating or co-creating Nip/Tuck (FX 2003-2010), Glee (FOX 2009-2015), American Horror Story (FX 2011-), Scream Queens (FOX 2015-2016), American Crime Story (FX 2016-), Feud (FX 2017), Pose (FX 2018-), 9-1-1 (FOX 2018-) and The Politician (Netflix 2019-), among others.

In 2018, Murphy signed an unprecedented $300 million deal with streaming giant Netflix to create content for the platform for the next five years. Murphy’s television series and made-for-TV movies have been distributed across broadcast, cable and streaming, and they have a distinct recognizable style and aesthetic. Murphy has re-popularised the television anthology format and is known for his camp aesthetics and experiments with genre, form and style. Murphy’s television series often champion underdogs and non-traditional lead characters, such as people of colour, minoritized women, trans* and non-binary characters and people who are diverse in their sexuality, gender, and/or sex characteristics. While these characters may be marginalized in other television series, in Murphy’s series they are rendered in complex and dynamic ways, challenging and subverting gender and genre expectations.

This edited collection seeks to investigate the key concerns, forms, and central abiding questions of Murphy’s television oeuvre, paying particular attention to the question of how and why his particular creative and business decisions have made him so powerful in the current television and streamed content environment.

We are particularly interested in papers that address how Murphy and his work sits at the intersection of many contemporary debates in television studies around genre, gender and authorship, including but not limited to:

  • Genre studies of Murphy’s work
  • Genre hybridity and fluidity
  • Questions of television aesthetics and style
  • “Quality” television, “cinematic” television and “peak” TV
  • Movie stars on television and television celebrity
  • Expansion of television distribution networks
  • Shifting genre boundaries and expectations
  • Diversity of voices and perspectives on television
  • Non-traditional television protagonists, including queer characters, older women, trans* characters and people of colour
  • Questions of gender and sexuality in visual culture
  • Changing models of television authorship
  • Questions of television authorship, paratexts and branding
  • And more …

Please send 400-word abstracts and a short bio to Melanie Robson (m.robson@unsw.edu.au) by April 1, 2020.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jessica Ford jessica.ford@newcastle.edu.au or Phoebe Macrossan on phoebe.macrossan@qut.edu.au.

Notification of acceptance: May 1, 2020.

Full papers due: 16 September, 2020.

All papers will be double-blind peer reviewed.