CFP: Velvet Light Trap on Seeing Race

FP Velvet Light Trap #67 - Seeing Race: Our Enduring Dilemma

"You lie!" Rep. Joe Wilson shouted during President Barack Obama's speech on health care reform in the halls of Congress. Media pundits were quick to point out that the 19th century was the last occasion of such an egregious breach of protocol took place in Congress. Members of both Houses urged the Republican congressman from South Carolina to apologize for his misconduct--and he did. Soon after, though, the discourse shifted to the reasons for Wilson's outburst. The factor of race became one major point in attributing blame, but that fire was never allowed to flame because of the overwhelmingly hegemonic ideology of colorblindness that currently saturates our culture. This same story could be told in relation to the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the pop culture firestorm that singed Isaiah Washington and the cast of Grey's Anatomy, or the discourses surrounding First Lady Michelle Obama's hair.

The notion that we cannot talk about race unless it is specifically and clearly identified as such in media and culture-at-large is as implicitly understood as is the notion of "one nation under God"--and it is just as powerful. And yet, although we claim to be blind to the markers of external and cultural difference, we always "see" race.

Issue #67 of The Velvet Light Trap will explore all the varied ways that we "see" race in television, film and new media. While the editors maintain a broad definition of "seeing race," special consideration will be given toward articles that interrogate the nexus of racial visibility as a sociocultural fact and/or color blindness as an ideological practice. Whether papers approach seeing race as a discursive category, a commercial commodity, and/or an object of consumption, the editors anticipate submissions that connect these strategies to the historical, industrial, political, and cultural factors that underpin a society's values.

Possible Topics include, but are not limited to:

* Seeing Race in War
* Spectacle
* Production Cultures
* Race and Genre
* Race in Political Media
* Race and Gender Intersectionality in Media

Papers should be between 6,000 and 7,500 words (approximately 20-25 pages double-spaced), in MLA style with a cover page including the writer's name and contact information.

Please send one copy of the paper (including a one-page abstract with each copy) and one electronic copy saved as a Word .doc file in a format suitable to be sent to a reader anonymously. The journal's Editorial Advisory Board will referee all submissions.

For more information or questions, contact Andrew Scahill at adscahill - at - Hard copy submissions are due January 30, 2010, and should be sent to:

The Velvet Light Trap, c/o The Department of Radio-Television-Film,
University of Texas at Austin, CMA 6.118, Mail Code A0800, Austin, TX, 78712

The electronic copy submission is also due on January 30, 2010 and should be sent to Andrew Scahill at adscahill - at -


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