Discussion of violence in American popular culture is omnipresent but usually lacking in historical context. This leads to a great amount of unsupported generalization that creates confusion and misunderstanding about this crucial social and cultural issue. This collection will provide historical context by surveying how violence has been represented in American popular culture from the Puritan era to the present. It aims to be both historically comprehensive and to discuss a full range of media and genres, from the earliest execution sermons to the latest video games and websites. Armed with this information, the reader will have knowledge of exactly why and how violence has always played a fundamental role in American popular culture.
Each volume of the collection will be organized chronologically. The first volume will focus on essays that deal with violent events/phenomena in American history (such as Native American genocide and slavery) that have been treated across a range of popular cultural media. The second volume will focus on the treatment of violence in popular culture in a series of specific popular cultural media, such as execution sermons, television and film. The combination of the two types of essay exemplifies the manner in which the collection as a whole will provide the reader with both historical breadth and specific analyses of particular popular cultural genres.
The collection will include essays on the following subjects:
• Native American History
• The Civil War
• World War II
• The Civil Rights Movement
• Domestic Violence
• Gang Violence
• The War on Terror
• Puritan Execution Sermons
• Criminal Autobiographies
• The Yellow Press
• Dime Novels
• Crime Fiction (Classic & Hard-Boiled)
• Film (2-3 essays on impact of Production Code, different film genres, etc.)
• Television (2-3 essays on different television genres, etc.)
• True Crime (both pre- and post-In Cold Blood)
• Music (2-3 essays on murder ballads, rap, metal, etc.)
• Video Games
• The Internet
Each essay will be approximately 8,000 words in length.
This collection is under contract with Praeger Press. All submissions will be reviewed by the collection’s General Editor, Professor David Schmid, University at Buffalo. Each contributor will receive a free copy of the collection upon its publication.
Submission and Deadlines
If you are interested in contributing to this collection, please contact David Schmid by November 1, 2013. Please include a copy of your cv and a brief description of your academic and publishing credentials. Please also indicate which essay/topic you are interested in writing about. Initial proposals will be due December 1, 2013, first drafts of essays by June 1, 2014 and revised drafts by August 1, 2014.