Call for Chapters for an Edited Collection:
Grindhouse: Transcultural Exchange on 42nd Street, and Beyond
Editors: Austin Fisher and Johnny Walker
To walk along New York’s 42nd Street was, from the 1960s to the 1980s, to undergo a kaleidoscopic encounter with an array of international film genres. In this the golden age of the “grindhouse” movie theatre, disparate cinematic cultures rubbed shoulders on the same bills. Long since celebrated as a melting pot of “cult” cinema, this distribution model would nevertheless be the cradle for some of the most culturally visible of contemporary filmic sensibilities. This book looks beneath the lurid marquees to tell the myriad stories at the heart of this transcultural process and, by examining these genres in turn, illuminates them in their national, historical and cultural contexts. By contextualising commonplace notions of a sleazy underbelly of drug pushers and peep-shows, it locates the American grindhouse as a site of cultural blending, in which audiences actively consumed and took possession of these diverse genres.
The volume’s methodological emphasis will be on detailed historical, cultural and political specificity throughout: firstly, to offer close contextual readings of the emergence and lifespan of a number of disparate genres in their own places of origin; and secondly, through a focus on patterns of distribution and consumption that have subsequently contributed to these genres’ cultural legacy. The tension between specialised contextual knowledge on the one hand, and recognition of the unstable nature of local identities on the other will be interrogated, negotiated and bridged. The intention is not therefore to position the USA as an inevitable hub of cinematic consumption. Rather, it is to look with historically-informed nuance at a cultural moment during which these genres found themselves being consumed side-by-side, through detailed explorations of the cultural-political tentacles that led to, and emanated from, this confluence.
Topics that will likely provide the volume with its key case studies include, but are not limited to:
A variety of approaches are encouraged, with likely chapters covering genres’ forebears, lifespans or legacies, conception, production, distribution or consumption.
Abstracts of 300 words should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org AND email@example.com, accompanied by a short author biography detailing publications and/or research interests and institutional affiliation, by Friday 20th September 2013.
Austin Fisher is Senior Lecturer in Media Arts at the University of Bedfordshire and the author of Radical Frontiers in the Spaghetti Western (IB Tauris, 2011). His main area of expertise concerns popular Italian cinema’s engagement with 1960s and 1970s countercultures, and his recent research appears in The Italianist and the Blackwell Companion to Italian Cinema. He is Co-Chair of the SCMS “Transnational Cinemas” Scholarly Interest Group, and founder of the “Spaghetti Cinema” festival in Luton, UK.
Johnny Walker has taught film and media studies at the University of Sunderland and De Montfort University, Leicester. His writing has appeared in journals such as Horror Studies and the Journal of British Cinema and Television and he is currently writing Contemporary British Horror Cinema: Industry, Genre and Society for Edinburgh University Press.
Dr Johnny Walker
Senior Lecturer in Media, Northumbria University