Archive for April 2011

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[ecrea] CFP - Tights and Tiaras: Female Superheroes and Media Cultures

Wed Apr 06 03:22:42 GMT 2011

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*12-13 August 2011*

*Monash** University, Melbourne, Australia*

*/Sponsored by/**: The Centre for the Book, Monash University//*

In 2010, the 600th issue of /Wonder Woman/ celebrated the Amazonian superhero’s longevity in print media. To mark the occasion, the issue reinvented the superhero’s iconic costume to make it less revealing, introducing dark trousers and a blue, starred jacket. This shift to more practical, less sexualised wear arguably reflects changing attitudes about gender and the growing female presence in the comics industry. Nonetheless, the change prompted some controversy online amongst fan communities, again highlighting the problematic history of the representation of women as powerful figures.

‘Tights and Tiaras: Female Superheroes and Media Cultures’ is a one and a half day interrogation of the construct of the ‘superhero’ as female and more generally of the representation of powerful female figures in fantasy and science fiction. Looking at a range of print and visual media, papers will explore the range of female characters in superhero narratives, the material history of the female superhero, and how visual and textual constructs of female heroes - and anti-heroes - have been re-imagined, re-invented and re-packaged over time.

Keynote Speaker: Karen Healey

Karen Healey is the writer of the popular archived feminist comics blog Girls Read Comics (And They're Pissed). She is currently an acclaimed author of young adult fiction and is completing a dissertation on superhero comics as fan-created texts at the University of Melbourne.

*Possible topics include:*

● The representation of female superheroes in print and visual media – in comics, comix, graphic novels, novels, short stories, fan fiction, film, television, and other media forms

● Distribution of narratives and images of female superheroes across multiple genres and media platforms

● The female hero quest

● Deconstructing the superhero trope – studies in feminism, patriotism, politics, race, satire, comedy, and so on

● Constructs of the female supervillain

● Superhero fashions, including costumes, cosplay and sartorial signifiers

● Female collaboration in comics

● Female comics artists: historical and contemporary

● Female comics audiences and fan communities

● Analysis of the institutional, commercial and licensing histories of female superhero properties

● The construction of powerful women in fantasy and science fiction genres

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words, accompanied by a brief bio, by emailed attachment to (tightsandtiaras /at/ The extended deadline for abstracts is *26 April, 2011*.

Conference website:

Conference email: (tightsandtiaras /at/


Dr Simone Murray

Senior Lecturer in Communications and Media Studies

& Director, The Centre for the Book

School of English, Communications & Performance Studies

Monash University

Menzies building (#11), Room W709

Clayton VIC 3800, AUSTRALIA

Email: (Simone.Murray /at/

Tel. +61 (0)3 9905 2220

Fax. +61 (0)3 9905 2135


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