/Difficult Death: Challenging Cultural Representations of Death, Dying
and the Dead in Media and Culture/
*Deadline: Monday 1 May 2021*****
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
A reminder of our call for abstracts for a new collected volume.
You are invited to submit 300-word abstracts for the forthcoming edited
collection provisionally titled /Difficult Death: Challenging Cultural
Representations of Death, Dying and the Dead in Media and Culture. /The
interdisciplinary collection seeks to examine a range of representations
of and engagement with death and dying across different media and
cultural forms including film, television, new media, journalism,
performing arts and literature. With a media and cultural studies focus,
the collection will examine some of the difficulties and challenges of
representing death, dying and the dead whilst also exploring ‘difficult’
and ‘challenging’ representations of these subjects as important objects
of analysis in themselves. We welcome contributions from all disciplines
and approaches and from those working within and beyond academia.
Death and dying are difficult to avoid both in the global media and in
popular culture. At times the representation of death, dying and the
dead can be especially challenging for viewers. Yet at other times it
can offer solace, escapism, or provoke engagement with mortality.
Penfold-Mounce (2018) has examined how different popular cultural texts
can promote both ‘safe’ and ‘provocative’ morbid spaces for engagement
with death and the dead. For those who create cultural texts, ranging
from novels to journalism to film and television, how to engage with and
represent death, dying and the dead also represents particular
challenges. Often, texts can themselves be challenged by those who
engage with them for the difficult, revealing or problematic ways that
they represent death. For example, as Luckhurst (2016) has argued, the
representation of the living dead in zombie horror can be read as a form
of social realism with its own necropolitics (Mbembe, 2003). From
depictions of real or ‘natural’ death in documentary, journalism or
narrative to dramatic depictions of violent deaths and the (un)dead in
literature, film and television, there is ample opportunity to explore
the ways in which death can be represented in difficult ways, can raise
difficult questions, and can be difficult to engage with in media and
Writing on death spans and transcends all academic disciplines, though
much writing has recently found a locus in the developing field of Death
Studies. Within Journalism Studies, more might be written about the
interactions with death that many journalists encounter and must, as
part of their career, prepare for. From the ‘death knock’ to reporting
sensitive and traumatic events, investigations into this aspect of
reporting tend to offer ethical guidance (see Luce, 2019) rather than a
full exploration of the area. More research and discussion has taken
place around photographic journalism and its encounters with death, with
Sontag’s /Regarding the Pain of Others /(2003) and Barthes’ /Camera
Lucida /(2000) offering widely cited explorations of the effect of
photographic representation of the traumatised, dying and the dead.
There are also photographers noted for their work in this area including
Joel-Peter Witkin, Andreas Serrano (Morgue Series), Luc Delahaye and
Robert Capa, all who have explored death through the camera lens.
Contributions might focus on:
·Representations of death and the dead in film, television and new media
that can be read as ‘challenging’, or that might benefit from being
·The challenges of reporting on death and dying
·The ways media can shape and inform responses to death and dying
·Cultural engagement with and representations of deaths often positioned
or perceived as especially ‘difficult’ or ‘challenging’ (suicide,
·Representations of ageing as a ‘problem’ in ways that conflate ageing
·The representation of difficult choices around euthanasia and
At this stage, we have initial interest from two global publishers and
will be submitting a full proposal once chapter abstracts have been
collated. Authors will be contacted by 1 Juneto confirm whether their
chapter has been selected and will be kept informed throughout the process.
300-word abstracts along with a brief biography of no more than 150
words should be sent to [log in to unmask]
1 May 2021.
Please send any queries to
[log in to unmask]
<mailto:[log in to unmask]
Barthes, R. (2000) /Camera Lucida/. London: Vintage.
Luce, A. (2019) /Ethical Reporting of Sensitive Topics/. London: Routledge.
Luckhurst, R. (2016) /Zombies: A Cultural History/. London: ReaktionBooks.
Mbembe, A. (2003) ‘Necropolitics’, trans. Libby Meintjes. /Public
Culture /15.1, 11-40. Doi. 10.1215/08992363-15-1-11
Penfold-Mounce, R. (2018) /Death, the Dead and Popular Culture/.
Sontag, S. (2003) /Regarding the Pain of Others/. London: Penguin.
Dr.Sharon Colecloughis Senior Lecturer in Film Production and Sound
Design at Staffordshire University. Her work combines the theory and
practice of moving image production, and the ways in which meaning is
created through the technical application of craft. Recent publications
consider the relationship of sound and the city focussing upon the city
of Berlin, with additional journal articles exploring representation
through the relationship of BAME actors to lighting and camera and the
concept of the outsider in cinema and television. A contributor to the
Learning on Screen (LoS) inspiring lecture series, Sharon’s work was
also selected as the LoS’scontribution to Black History Month, 2020. She
has a forthcoming chapter in the MacFarland Press publication The
Theology of Zombies in which she explores the concept of the sentient
zombie in television. Sharon works internationally on a collaborative
digital project, “The Laptop Tour” which considers the ways performance
can be realised through the use of technology.
Dr.Bethan Michael-Fox, FRSA, SFHEA, works as an Associate Lecturer for
the Open University, teaching a range of English literature, creative
writing, interdisciplinary humanities and reflective learning modules.
She is an Honorary Associate in the School of English and Creative
Writing at the Open University and a Visiting Research Fellow at the
University of Bath’s Centre for Death and Society (CDAS). She is the
Editorial Officer for Mortality, a Taylor and Francis journal promoting
the interdisciplinary study of death and dying, and a representative for
the Association for the Study of Death and Society (ASDS). She is
currently working on a project on the representation of student suicide
in documentary television with Dr Kay Calver at the University of
Northampton. She is also editing a special issue of the academic journal
Revenant with Dr Renske Visser and has published a range of academic
journal articles, book chapters and an edited collection.
Dr.Renske Visser is a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey,
currently conducting research on cancer care in English prisons. She
completed her PhD on homemaking in later life at the Centre for Death
and Society at the University of Bath. Her background is in Medical
Anthropology and she has a wide interest in issues around ageing, dying
and death, particularly in the role of place and space in shaping end of
life experiences. Her Master’s explored the way parentally bereaved
Dutch young adults continue bonds with their lost parent through the use
of material culture. She has published a range of academic articles in
journals such as Mortality, Death Studies, Home Cultures and The Journal
of Mental Health and is currently co-editing a special issue on Death in
the Margins with Dr Candi Cann and a special issue on Death and the
Screen with Dr Beth Michael-Fox. She is also the Postdoctoral
Representative of the Association for the Study of Death and Society
This mailing list is a free service offered by Nico Carpentier. Please use it responsibly and wisely.
To subscribe or unsubscribe, please visit
Before sending a posting request, please always read the guidelines at
To contact the mailing list manager:
Email: [log in to unmask]