Monday, October 12, 2009

Stuttgart, January

I will be keynoting a symposium on television at Stuttgart, Germany's Merz Academy in January: REMEDIATE! Neue Langform-Narrative und Autorschaft, veränderte Rezeptionsformen und Distributionsmedien bei TV-Serienformaten. Other speakers include Elizabeth Sarnoff (Deadwoood, Lost) and Tom Fontana (Oz).

My talk will be called:

The Imagination will be Televised: Showrunning and the Re-animation of Authorship in 21st Century American Television

Here's the abstract:

David Chase, Vince Gilligan, Eric Kripke, David Milch, Ronald D. Moore, Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Matthew Weiner, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, Joss Whedon . . . not exactly household names—except perhaps for those glued to the set when The Sopranos or Breaking Bad or Supernatural or Deadwood or Battlestar Galactica or Big Love or Gilmore Girls or Mad Men or Lost or Buffy the Vampire Slayer are on the air. Until recently even devoted fans of such American television series seldom talked of them in terms of their makers, and even those few intellectuals who took the supposedly low-brow medium seriously were unlikely to waste their time contemplating questions of authorship. So why, in the wake of Barthes’ and Foucault’s “death of the author,” has American television become an advantageous playing field for a certain kind of imagination?

After considering the historical and theoretical factors that made TV authorship for a long time suspect, I will examine the unique contributions of each of the above-named “showrunners” in order to put scrutiny of the role of creative individuals in a mass medium on the map for future scholars and critics.

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