Call for Papers – Bournemouth University in collaboration with Wolverhampton University presents:

Action Heroines in the Twenty-First Century: Sisters in Arms

Thursday June 9th – Friday June 10th 2022 at Talbot Campus, Bournemouth University
Hosted by the Narrative, Culture and Community Research Centre

Keynotes: Professor Yvonne Tasker, Leeds University, and Professor Chris Holmlund, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

It is 30 years since Thelma and Louise hit our screens, grossing a cool $45mil at the US box office and carving out a special place in movie history. A deliberately feminist project for screenwriter Callie Khouri, it was hailed and derided in more or less equal measure by critics for its portrayal of two ordinary Arkansas women turned gun-toting outlaws.

The film busted the Hollywood myth that a female-led action movie could not be a critical and commercial success. It also broke the mould by presenting us with not one but two action heroines, this being perhaps the most revolutionary thing about it. As a result, many anticipated an upsurge in female action heroines, but this was not to be. The genre continued to be almost exclusively dominated by men, and where a female action hero did appear (Geena Davis being one significant action star, Angelina Jolie of course another), they were almost always positioned as a single woman surrounded by a cast of men, as though to reinforce their exceptionality and their distance from ordinary women and from socially acceptable constructions of femininity. In the new millennium, however, we have seen an increasing number of women star in and lead action films emanating from Hollywood and beyond. And perhaps more interestingly we have seen the emergence of films that feature more than one female action figure, effectively removing that stultifying burden of representation otherwise shouldered by the lone ‘woman’.

We invite submissions addressing action films featuring multiple women, including buddy films, ensemble films, films featuring female protagonists and antagonists, female mentors and mentees and any other variations on the theme of ‘sisters in arms’. We encourage proposals that address films from all national and international cinema traditions and from a range of action-led genres from Westerns to heist movies, and from martial arts to science fiction. Papers that address action heroines on TV will also be welcome.

Please send a 300-word abstract along with a 100-word bio by December 17th 2021 to: Christa van Raalte, Bournemouth University and Fran Pheasant-Kelly, University of Wolverhampton at A final listing of accepted presentations will be released on January 31st 2022. Please note that Edinburgh University Press have already expressed an interest in publishing an edited collection arising from the conference and will be in attendance.

Delegate fees are £50 (£30 for students/concessions) to include lunch, refreshments, and evening wine reception. We are planning to hold the conference dinner on Thursday 9th June and will send out details of this later.