CFP: Gender Warriors: Reading Contemporary Urban Fantasy

U. Melissa Anyiwo and I are issuing a call for chapters for a text, Gender Warriors: Reading Contemporary Urban Fantasy, that has been accepted for publication with Sense Publishers as a part of their Teaching Gender series.

Gender Warriors: Reading Contemporary Urban Fantasy
Editors U. Melissa Anyiwo and Amanda Hobson

Call for Chapters
Urban fantasy, a genre that draws from high fantasy, horror, and romance, came into its own in the mid-1980s, but critical work on the topic has been sadly lacking, found scattered throughout texts on related genres. In addressing issues of urban fantasy, there is a recurring theme: the problem of gender. Issues of gender have always permeated the reception of authorship and the definition of genre itself; in this case, it is not enough to just read urban fantasy in opposition to high fantasy but to denote it in contrast to its sister genres of paranormal romance, alternate histories, and steampunk literature. Moreover, the concepts and complications of urban fantasy continue when the genre moves from page to screen. This collection will, thus, examine and clarify several questions: What is urban fantasy? How does the genre complicate the performance and portrayals of gender? How do these discussions translate across page, stage, and screen?

From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Black Widow in the Avengers series and beyond, urban fantasy introduces audiences to female protagonists who appear as independent action heroes freed from the constraints of traditional patriarchy, fighting in traditionally male worlds against uber-masculine foes. In conjunction with the rise of urban fantasy, the twenty-first century has witnessed an explosion of tough, physically strong, supernaturally enhanced women in the popular media—including films, television shows, comic books, and video games making this text a vital addition to a Popular Culture Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Contemporary Culture, Sociology, Political Science, Queer Studies, Communications and more.

Gender Warriors: Reading Contemporary Urban Fantasy, under contract with Sense Publishers as part of their Teaching Gender Series, seeks classroom ready original essays from scholars with PhDs, which explicitly explore the world of urban fantasy. The volume aims to emphasize the constructions of gender and the way these interpretations reify our images of human beings and the ways in which we identify and manufacture the gendered and sexualized Other. We hope to open doorways to discussions about Otherness at the college level, serving as an alternative way to explore marginality through a framework that welcomes all students into the conversation. Thus, we ask that all chapters include a set of Discussion Questions and suggestions for further reading.

 Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Presentations of gender and the performance of femininity and masculinity in the Urban Fantasy Universe
  • Presentations of gender in the worlds of Marvel and DC Comics
  • Reinforcement or subversion of gendered norms
  • Female authorship/readership as genre-defying feminist texts
  • The limits of feminist expression in urban fantasy film (i.e. Underworld Series)
  • Problematizing “the strong female character.”
  • Urban Fantasy as female preserve
  • Liberating or fetishicizing: the warrior woman image on TV (i.e. Alias, La Femme Nikita, Lost Girl, Blade)
  • Girl fighting & social disempowerment: the impact of performing violence in Urban Fantasy (i.e. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kim Harrison’s Hollows Series, Blade)
  • Hyper-masculinity in Urban Fantasy (i.e. Underworld Series, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Series)
  • Gender blending and the Urban Fantasy heroine (i.e. Underworld Series, Jocelynn Drake’s Dark Days Series, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake Series)
  • Sexual violence or threat of sexual violence as a plot device: the shifting use and portrayal of sexual violence, particularly the rape narrative within Urban Fantasy (i.e. Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson Series, Karen Marie Moning’s Fever Series, Kim Harrison’s Hallows Series, Hamilton’s Anita Blake Series)
  • Male voices in Urban Fantasy: the limits of representation in Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files and Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles)
  • Gendering fans and fandom in urban fantasy (i.e. Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  • The use of gender throughout the history of the genre
  • The gendering of authorship as a function of genre’s reception
  • How gender portrayal in urban fantasy varies between films, television series, and novels.


  • April 30th – Proposals due
  • June 30th – 1st drafts due
  • August 30th – 2nd drafts due
  • 1st – Final Drafts
  • 30th – text due at Publisher

Please email proposals and inquiries to Melissa Anyiwo ( and Amanda Hobson ( by April 30, 2017.

About the Teaching Gender series from Sense Publishers

The Teaching Gender series publishes monographs, anthologies and reference books that deal centrally with gender and/or sexuality. The books are intended to be used in undergraduate and graduate classes across the disciplines. The series aims to promote social justice with an emphasis on feminist, multicultural and critical perspectives.

Please email series queries to the series editor at

Series Editor
Patricia Leavy

International Editorial Board
Tony E. Adams, Northeastern Illinois University, USA
Paula Banerjee, University of Calcutta, India
Nitza Berkovitch, Ben Gurion University, Israel
Robin Boylorn, University of Alabama, USA
Máiréad Dunne, University of Sussex, UK
Mary Holmes, The University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Laurel Richardson, Ohio State University, Emerita, USA
Sophie Tamas, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

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