Doctor Who Reader

Ed. collection, 15. October 2021.

Paul Booth, Matt Hills, Joy Piedmont, and Tansy Raynor Roberts (editors) are seeking chapters for Adventures In Space and Time: A Doctor Who Reader, a collection to be part of Bloomsbury Academics’s “Who’s Watching” series. A Doctor Who Archive collects a wealth of academic articles and fan work published over the past sixty years about the television series Doctor Who, and introduces newly commissioned works about the history and longevity of the series. Thus, this unique book takes a snapshot of important work about the show and its culture over the past sixty years, augmented with brand new contemporary academic and fan writing about the influence of the series.

We are seeking 200-300 word abstracts for chapters of various lengths for the following topics. We are particularly interested in seeing work from a diverse array of scholars and fans, particularly those from underrepresented groups. A modest honorarium is available for authors.

Please email your abstract to pbooth@depaul.edu by Oct 15, 2021.

-   Doctor Who Podcasting
-   Doctor Who YouTubing/Vidding
-   Casual/Non-Fans of Doctor Who
-   The Tumblr Generation
-   Feminine Gaze and Doctor Who
-   Fan Response to Companions of Color
-   Shipping in Doctor Who Fandom
-   Doctor Who Fandom around the World
-   US Doctor Who Fandom
-   Fan Activism
-   Intersectional Fandom
-   Doctor Who Live Experiences/Theatrical Productions
-   Professional Media Coverage of Doctor Who
-   Professionals within Fannish Spaces
-   The pros and cons of professionals stepping into fannish spaces

Full Book summary follows:

Section I: Studying Doctor Who's Audiences and Fans

Doctor Who has been the focus of decades of fan-focused writing. As it has shifted and changed over time, so too have the fan audiences that have guided the multifaceted experiences of the show. This section ranges from early media studies’ work on Doctor Who’s fans and followers through to new work on the contemporary fan ‘blogosphere’ represented by types of “social media entertainment” such as podcasting and YouTubing. However, there has been far, far more work on fan activities and interpretations over the years than on what John Tulloch calls Doctor Who’s “coalition” audience -- i.e. more casual and uncommitted, fleeting viewers alongside enduring fans. Therefore this section also includes groundbreaking work on this under-researched or even relatively ‘invisible audience’, present in BBC internal reports, perhaps, but rarely seriously studied in scholarship and fan writing alike. It revisits John Tulloch’s influential concept of fandom as a “powerless elite” in the ‘nu Who’ era and considers the desires and cultural politics of both female and feminist fans, including recent work on reactions to Jodie Whittaker’s casting as the Doctor.           

Section II: Doctor Who Fandom in the 21st Century

While Doctor Who is often conceptualized as a children’s program, the truth is more complicated: originally produced by the “drama” department (rather than the “children’s” department), the show has always had a multi-generational audience. With the modern series’ premiere in 2005, the fan generations split: many older fans returned to the show, joining children and young adults who were meeting the Doctor for the first time. Within this generation of fans there's a range of experiences that seem to fall along racial but also geographical lines, and as a whole, they're much more comfortable viewing the show through the lens of identity and politics. In this section, we explore the way that Doctor Who discussion has developed into silos for different generations and identities and highlight changing focuses of concern by the fan audience.

Section III: Into the (Transmedia) Vortex: From Dalekmania to Time Lord Victorious

Doctor Who isn’t just one text: it’s a television series, but it’s also book series, films, theatrical productions, merchandise, clothing, audio adventures, comics. It’s a transmedia spectacular. In this section, we chart the growth of Doctor Who across media, from early work that focuses on Doctor Who's televisual presence, and then work on the Doctor Who across media, culminating in new work about live adventures (escape rooms, etc.) and the Time Lord Victorious transmedia experience.

Section IV: Doctor Who’s Creative Intersections

In the history of Doctor Who, many fans went into writing, publishing, and television production, even becoming part of the creative side of things. Even secondary texts like Doctor Who Magazine are spaces fans are being paid professionally to cover their fannish love. There's a discomfort to those crossovers sometimes, with pros intruding on fannish spaces and vice versa. At what point does fan power get so large that it intrudes on the making of the show? How can fans salvage problems of the show's making? For example, fannish spaces helped to bring actors back to feeling positive about their role in Doctor Who, like Christopher Eccleston in 2019 and Caroline John in the 90s who thought everyone hated her until a convention convinced her otherwise. Professional production companies like Big Finish have taken fannish frustrations with some of the worst failings of the show and turned them around, but as fans become professionals, they stop being able to exist in those fannish spaces anymore.

--
Paul Booth, PhD
Pronouns: he, him, his
Professor of Media and Cinema Studies/Communication Technology
College of Communication
DePaul University
14 E. Jackson
Chicago, IL 60604