CFP: Creatures in the Classroom: Teaching Environmental Creature Features (updated deadline)

Deadline: February 4, 2022
Contact: Bridgitte Barclay and Christy Tidwell
Email: [email protected]

Creatures in the Classroom: Teaching Environmental Creature Features
Edited by Bridgitte Barclay and Christy Tidwell

The editors seek essays that engage with creature features as a subgenre of environmental science fiction and ecohorror and explore how they can be used in the classroom. These sf/horror texts feature creatures of various sorts attacking and may be intentionally commenting on environmental issues (like George McCowan’s Frogs [1972]) or simply ripe for environmental readings (like Roger Corman’s Wasp Woman [1959]). Creature features are also often campy, offering playfulness to solemn environmental discourse and functioning as a form of Nicole Seymour’s “bad environmentalism.” Bridgitte Barclay argues that creature features can be “pleasurably resistant texts” for delving into environmental issues with laughter and playful scares (“Female Beasties” 5). Imagining how creature features can be framed as ecomedia therefore offers us new ways of reckoning with the Anthropocene – as well as the Capitalocene, Plantationocene, and/or Chthulucene.

This combination of real-world relevance and fun can be productive in the classroom. However, creature features – and other campy texts – are not what most of us are primarily trained to analyze and teach. Because they often rely on humor and community to address serious issues, though, they are often pleasurably approachable texts for students. This project seeks to collect short pieces focused on ideas for teaching or the experience of teaching specific creature features that address environmental issues. Proposals engaging with global texts (outside the U.S. and U.K.) and with film and television from outside blockbuster cinema are especially welcome. We also encourage contributors to think expansively about what counts as a creature feature. Historically, the term has referred to film and television, but elements of creature features (sf/horror, nature strikes back, campiness, etc.) may also be present in other media, and we are interested in proposals about teaching creature features across a wide range of media.

These pieces will be traditionally critical with a practical teaching component. Each entry will follow a template that includes these sections:

  • Context/Background. This section will provide a brief introduction to the creature feature, the environmental issues it engages with, and why you chose to teach it.
  • Pedagogical approach. This section will provide the teaching context for your exercise and discuss how you’ve approached the creature feature within that context.
    • In what type/level of course did you teach the creature feature? What is your student body like, and how does that shape your approach and their response?
    • What other texts (film, TV, novels, other media) would you put this creature feature in conversation with? What theory do you apply? What historical resources do you draw on?
  • Specific exercise(s). This section will outline the exercise(s) you use to teach this creature feature. What concrete activities, assignments, or discussion questions do you use with this creature feature?
  • Conclusion. This section will provide your reflections on the value of this exercise to teach the specific creature feature and to engage students with the larger ideas raised by it (and other creature features) as environmental science fiction/ecohorror.

Please send proposals of approximately 250 words and a brief bio to both editors, Bridgitte Barclay ([email protected]) and Christy Tidwell ([email protected]), by February 4, 2022. Notifications of accepted proposals will be sent by March 1, and drafts of selected articles will be due by August 1, 2022. Finished pieces should be approximately 3500-4000 words. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about the project or about a proposal idea.

Posted on January 14, 2022