CFP – Mad Men: The Conference

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Location: Middle Tenneesee State University, near Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Date: May 26-28, 2016

Convened by the College of Media and Entertainment and the College of Liberal Arts at Middle Tennessee State University, USA, and The School of Arts and Media at the University of Salford, UK.

Proposals are invited for a three-day international conference on the US television drama series Mad Men. Responding to the series’ conclusion in 2015, this timely event takes the opportunity to explore Mad Men in its entirety via a range of academic approaches. It aims to assess the series’ significant storytelling achievements, including its complex characters, innovative narrative structures, intricate mise-en-scène and its inventive deployment of popular music. It intends to explore the production conditions that gave rise to this creativity, analyzing the series’ links to the growth of the US basic cable sector as a major site of ‘quality’ TV drama and other key recent industrial shifts. It will look to ascertain the much-discussed Mad Men’s cultural impact, exploring the critical discourses and fan practices that have developed around the series. It furthermore seeks to consider the perspectives that the 1960s-set series brings to a transformative era of US social history, as well as trace its connections to contemporary cultural debates around such topics as race and gender. Through examining this culturally significant series from a number of perspectives, the conference will not only assess Mad Men’s key creative accomplishments but also use the series as a means to consider wider aspects of contemporary television culture, as well as broader societal issues.

Proposals (for single papers and panels of three papers) are invited on (but not limited to) the following topics:

• Mad Men and the 1960s
• Mad Men and intertextuality across media (e.g. film, literature, poetry)
• Mad Men and the representation of race, gender and sexuality
• Mad Men and contemporary television industries
• Mad Men and television authorship
• Mad Men and season/series finales
• Narrative structure in Mad Men
• Set design and visual style in Mad Men
• Character construction in Mad Men
• Performance in Mad Men
• Music in Mad Men
• Symbolism in Mad Men’s mise en scène
• Mad Men’s fandom
• Mad Men and critical discourses
• Mad Men’s promotional surround
• Mad Men and media convergence (e.g. social media, digital paratexts, streamed distribution)

For a more extensive list of potential paper topics, see the following link:

Deadline for submissions: December 31, 2015.

Keynote Speakers to include Matt Zoller Seitz, author of The Mad Men Carousel and Professor Mimi White.
A book collecting the best papers from the conference is planned.

As the centre of the country music industry, Nashville is one of America’s most culturally vibrant cities, featuring an exciting night life that draws upon the city’s musical heritage. Both out of state and international participants may wish to come early and stay late.

Proposals and queries should be directed to: | To learn more and follow the development of the conference, visit the website:

Conference co-conveners: David Lavery & Jane Marcellus (MTSU), Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs, & Michael Goddard (University of Salford).


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