CFP: Queer Nostalgia and Queer Historie

Special Issue of Queer Studies in Media and Popular Culture, vol. 2, issue 2
Expected Publication Date: June 2017; Editors: Bridget Kies and Thomas J. West III

The recent controversy over director Roland Emmerich’s feature film Stonewall (2015) for its rewriting of LGBT+ history as a history of white, cisgender men calls attention to the tensions in the contemporary media landscape’s portrayals of LGBT+ characters and stories.  In addition to the rewriting of history, the achievement of marriage equality has led to popular attitudes by some that history has been written and gay rights have been achieved.  Meanwhile, increased media attention for trans identities, led in part by Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner, reveals the many ways in which the struggles for LGBT+ equality remain ongoing.

At the same time, we have observed a significant rise in the costume or historical drama, a genre that has, traditionally, enabled representations that eschew the gay/straight binary, and that offers the opportunity to reflect on our contemporary social context through allegory.  Some historically situated film and television, like Stonewall, looks to the past with nostalgia that seems to hearken to a “simpler” time in gay male history when intersectional identities could be neglected or appropriated.  Other films and television series, such as Mad Men and The Tudors, attempt to shed light on the neglected and erased histories of LGBT+ people. The scope of this special issue is therefore to examine ways in which history and nostalgia offer us the opportunity for more diverse or more complex representations, interpretations, and interrogations of queer identities.

In this issue, we invite papers that explore the tensions produced within historical fiction or nostalgic media.  We are especially interested in those papers that explore intersectional identities.  Possible topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Examinations of films like Stonewall, A Single Man, Milk, Kill Your Darlings, Pride or television series such as Spartacus, The Tudors, Reign, Downton Abbey, Penny Dreadful, The Borgias, Mad Men
  • Condemnation of LGBT+ characters in historical fictional media
  • Romanticizing the struggles of the LGBT+ rights movement
  • Representations or significant absences of intersectional identities in historically situated media
  • Examinations of the oeuvres of particular directors known for their attention to historical issues or for nostalgic aesthetics, e.g. Todd Haynes and Gus Van Sant
  • Historicizing the gay/straight binary or undoing the gay/straight binary in history
  • Reception of historically situated media within LGBT+ groups or the New Right

Completed essays of 5,000-7,000 words should be submitted no later than June 1, 2016.  Essays should follow Intellect’s style guide, including preferred British spellings and Harvard citation style, which can be found at:

Submissions and questions about the issue should be addressed to the editors Bridget Kies and TJ West at

Contact Info:


Bridget Kies:
TJ West:

Please use special email for submissions, so that we may keep track of them in one place.

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