CFP: Seasonal TV

Call for Proposals: Seasonal Television, A Special Issue of the Journal of Popular Television (Proposals by 1 August 2014)
full name / name of organization:
Derek Johnston / Journal of Popular Television
contact email:
Call for Proposals: Seasonal Television, A Special Issue of the Journal of Popular Television

The subject of seasonality in relation to broadcasting is one that is acknowledged in a number of places, but barely researched in any depth. Roger Silverstone in Television and Everyday Life and Frances Bonner in Ordinary Television both refer to the way that television relates to the passing of seasons, and the rhythms and patterns of everyday life, but research beyond that is fairly minimal. Tara Brabazon has considered ‘Christmas and the Media’ in Sheila Whiteley’s collection Christmas, Ideology and Popular Culture and David Budgen has discussed the Doctor Who Christmas episodes in Andrew O’Day’s The Eleventh Hour. But seasonality in television and radio extends beyond Christmas specials, and raises wider questions about how broadcasting interacts with various social, cultural and industrial structures, formal and informal.

We are currently seeking proposals of around 300 words, to be received by 1 August 2014. Full versions of the accepted articles would be required by 30 June 2015, being between 6,000 and 8,000 words in length using the Harvard referencing system. If you have any queries, including if you wish to informally discuss ideas before making a formal proposal, please contact Derek Johnston at

This call for papers invites proposals for articles relating to seasonality in relation to broadcasting in its broadest scope for a special issue of The Journal of Popular Television. The issue will broadly consider the question: how does broadcasting mark out the calendar year, in terms of shifting patterns of programming, or seasonal specials? Articles may include broad overviews, or specific case studies, and may relate to any broadcasting structures internationally. Subjects may include, but are certainly not limited to:

• Specific celebrations – Christmas, Hogmanay, Easter, April Fool’s Day, Holi, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and many others. How are they marked by broadcasters? Are there particular programmes, or a general shift in emphasis across programming? How do they operate in different broadcasting contexts? Do particular programmes make changes, as in seasonal specials? How has the presentation of these celebrations changed over time?
• Sporting seasons – how does broadcasting shift to interact with different sporting seasons? How do the different power structures of sports organisations and broadcast organisations interact?
• Political calendars – how does broadcasting interact with the calendars of politics, of Parliamentary sessions, of Presidential holidays, of summits, and elections?
• Genres – are certain genres related to certain times of year? Does horror belong to winter? Is serious drama inappropriate to summer? Are variety programmes better suited to holidays?
• Internationalising calendars – how do the international markets in broadcasting influence the production and reception of programmes that relate to holidays? Has the American Halloween been popularised by its presence in television programming? What about Christmas, and Valentine’s Day? Are celebrations with religious roots secularised in broadcasting in order to appeal to an international audience?
• Roots of celebrations – how do the broadcast forms of these celebrations relate to their cultural roots? How much is programming in industrial nations influenced by the agricultural calendar? What effect does industrialisation have on scheduling?
• Transferring traditions – how does broadcasting adopt and adapt existing traditions? Why have broadcast pantomimes been so popular in Britain when the significant element of audience interactivity has been lost? How do seasonal episodes travel, or not travel, between nations and cultures?
• Calendars and taste – why are programmes that would normally be considered minority interest promoted during certain seasonal celebrations? Opera and ballet become more prominent during the BBC Christmas schedule, for example. Countries also compare taste: why is Dinner for One a Christmas tradition in Germany, Denmark and Australia, and why do the BBC run items declaring this to be ‘strange’ every Christmas?
• Media rituals – probably the most widely-researched subject related to calendar and seasonal broadcasting, but how can the marking of the seasons by broadcasting be considered in terms of media rituals? Or does the delineation of the broadcast year by programming need its own theoretical framework?
• Channel branding and identity – how do different channels use the broadcast calendar to brand themselves? Do channel identities shift with the seasons, and why?
• Dominant and subordinate cultures – how does broadcasting’s treatment of different cultural calendars operate to promote division or integration into society?
• Depicting the seasons – how are the seasons used in broadcast programmes to project ideas of time, the calendar, culture and society? What does the popularity of the televised observation of the natural seasons in programmes such as Lambing Live, Springwatch and Autumn Watch tell us about British society?
• Calendars, seasons and identity – how do broadcasters suggest a national or cultural identity through their interaction with calendrical and seasonal events? How do their audiences use these broadcast patterns in their constructions of identity? How are multiple cultural and religious calendars dealt with in multi-cultural societies? What does this suggest about cultural and social roles of broadcasters?

Found at UPenn

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