Call for Proposals

Aesthetics of Television Serials


Universitat Politècnica de València, Campus de Gandia, November 2nd, 3rd and 4th 2017

Organized by the Universitat Politècnica de València, in collaboration with the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image and the research project Theoretical Innovation Strategies in the Analysis of Narration in Television Series.

Programme committee: Kathrin Fahlenbrach (University of Hamburg), Ted Nannicelli (University of Queensland) and Héctor J. Pérez (Universitat Politècnica de València). 


Confirmed keynote speakers:


Murray Smith, Margrethe Bruun Vaage and Angelo Cioffi (Kent based Panel)

Reiner Reisenzein (Univ. of Greifswald)

Juan José Igartua (Universidad de Salamanca)

Bence Nanay (Univ. of Antwerp/Univ. of Cambridge)

Steven Peacock (Univ. of Hertfordshire) 


Summary of aims and scope:

This conference aims to explore and promote fresh and innovative approaches to the study of television serials. Increasingly, the television serial is the preeminent popular art form of our time. However, the television serial is still relatively understudied – particularly from perspectives that emphasize our cognitive, emotional, and aesthetic engagement with the form. Therefore, the conference will have two central foci.

One focus of the conference will be on the analysis of specific narrative and stylistic features of the television serial. Here we envision papers from either a broadly poetic or aesthetic perspective. We are particularly interested in exploring how myriad elements of television programs interact and contribute to seriality. For instance, how do performance or sound design help shape seriality? We are also especially interested in understanding television serials’ particular aesthetic effects and achievements. We welcome close analyses, case studies, or broader theoretical explorations of these issues as long as they are grounded in close attention to the form and style of particular television serials.

The second focus of the conference will be on the methods and approaches that inform the study of television serials. Here, we envision conceptual, theoretical, and philosophical explorations of particular issues in the study of television serials (e.g. authorship over time; the focus of critical judgment in the context of seriality) and/or meta-theoretical discussions focusing on methodology more generally. In particular, we are interested in papers that assess the potential contributions of cognitive and other scientifically oriented approaches, as well as their limitations. Furthermore, we are interested in the possibility of developing a “third culture” in the context of television studies, where humanistic and scientific approaches are mutually informative. In relation, we welcome propo- sals to consider the television serial from interdisciplinary perspectives such as cognitive literary studies and neuroaesthetics.

Proposals for papers or panels are welcomed in the following areas:

Analysis of Specific Narrative and Stylistic Features ofTelevision Serials

- Cognitive approaches to the study of various narrative forms and devices–e.g. narrative suspense, narrative closure, cliffhangers—as well as how they engage and elicit various responses from viewers— e.g. memory, suspense, boredom.

-Poetic and/or cognitive approaches to narration and narrative design in television serials more broadly; critical assessments of recent, prominent work on television narrative in the field

-Examinations of narration and narrative structure in relatively underexplored formats and genres, such as nonfiction and non-Anglopho- ne television.

-Case studies analyzing how stylistic elements contribute to a program’s seriality, interacting with narrative and performance

-Examinations of underexplored stylistic elements of television serials – especially sound design, but including various mise-en-scene features, cinematography, and editing

-Analysis of new facets of character design and viewer engagement with characters, particularly in unexplored television formats and genres

-Explorations of the links between stardom, acting, and character in television serials

-Appreciation of character design and/or performance as an artistic or aesthetic achievement in television serials

-Investigations of character, performance, and temporality in long running serials; examinations of how character and performance con- tribute to seriality.

 Approaches, Methods, and Debates in the Study of Television Serials

- Conceptual explorations of the nature of seriality in television and its artistic and/or aesthetic value

-Metatheoretical discussions of competing and/or complimentary approaches to the study of television serials – e.g. consideration of the competing aims and claims of cognitive approaches (and other scientifically-grounded approaches), philosophical approaches, lin- guistic/semiotic approaches

-Conceptual, theoretical and/or philosophical reassessments of the nature of seriality in television; comparative analyses with seriality in other media

- Original taxonomic studies of various manifestations of seriality across different forms and genres of television

-Investigations of specific theoretical issues in relationship to television seriality and its particular temporal qualities– e.g. authorship over time, aesthetic experience over time, ontology and acquaintance with “the” work

-Discussions of the interaction between artistic or aesthetic achievement with moral, political, social, and/or educational values in television serials

-Fresh approaches on fandom in relationship to the appreciation and criticism of television serials (e.g. neglected normative questions about fans’ aesthetic experience of serials)


Guidelines for Submission

A proposal may be for a long-paper presentation or a short-paper presentation. You may submit a proposal that can be considered for multiple formats or just one depending on which format you believe will be most suitable for your proposal. The content of your presen- tation should not have been presented elsewhere in an identical form.

Long-Paper Presentation

A 50-minute session divided between a 25-minute presentation and a 25-minute Q&A. This format is reserved for well-developed projects that present extensive research data.

Short-Paper Presentation

A 25-minute session divided between a presentation of 15 minutes or less with the residual time used for discussion. This format is sui- table for works in progress or research that may be presented more succinctly.

Proposals must be submitted as a pdf file by email to researchseriesevents@gmail.com The deadline for proposals is midnight (GTM) February 15, 2017.

Proposals must include:
A cover page (to be removed for review), with:
  • Title

  • List of authors

  • Brief biographical statement for presenting author (25-100 words)

The proposal body, with:

  • A proposal (500-800 words)

  • Bibliography of key sources (up to 5; use MLA or APA format)

  • A short abstract (80-160 words) for the conference program

    The deadline for proposals is midnight (GTM) February 15, 2017. Notification of acceptance will be made by March 15, 2017. If authors have selected multiple presentation formats, they will be assigned a format.

    Further questions about the conference or the abstract submission process should be addressed to researchseriesevents@gmail.com

    This Conference is finnancially supported by a research projects funded by the Spanish Government: Theoretical Innovation Strategies in the Analysis of Narration in Television Series (CSO2014-51872-R), as well as by the Escola Politècnica Superior de Gandia and the Departamento de Comunicación Audiovisual, Documentación e Historia del Arte (Universitat Politècnica de València).