Tuesday, July 04, 2006

CFP: for [working title] The Story of O: an edited volume on Oprah Winfrey

CFP: for [working title] The Story of O: an edited volume on Oprah Winfrey
by Kimberly Springer and Angela Cotten

Few public figures traverse the cultural, political, economic, and media boundaries with such savvy and success as Oprah Winfrey. Her story is one of rags-to-billion, and she has achieved international fame through her media productions, philanthropy, and global networking. There is probably no one in America who hasn't heard of Oprah, and her word carries more weight in most households than the President's (CNN's Anderson Cooper). Oprah's influence is felt
throughout the world and everyone has an opinion about her. But not everyone can articulate their passion for or reservations about her.

The Story of O initiates this long overdue conversation by assembling thoughtful critical and reflective papers that explore aspects of Oprah Winfrey life and work, and its impact on the world. Topics include but are not limited to the following:

--Oprah's widespread appeal, including her inter/national fame and influence;
--Philanthropy (perhaps a case can be made for radicalism in that her attention to social issues is sustained and active);
--Race/gender/class politics of audience relation and captivation;
--Her impact on the talk-show industry in the last 25 years;
--Oprah, money & politics; Tropes of the self-made billionaire;
--Oprah's role in increasing social awareness of child abuse;
--Oprah as self-help promoter: as svengali to self-help gurus who build their own empires based on affiliation with her (e.g. her personal trainer Bob Green, chefs Rosie Daley & Art Smith, bootcamp psychologist Dr. Phil, spiritualist Iyanla Vanzant);
--Oprah's "love/hate" relationship with African-Americans;
--Oprah and African-American men; Oprah and African-American women
--Oprah as a culture industry including: O (her magazine); Oxygen (television network); HARPO film productions; Make-A-Wish Foundation; Book Club; her restaurants
--Oprah as actress; Reading/positioning Oprah's body in the Hollywood typology of black female body
--Public obsession with Oprah's body;
--Oprah’s impact on increased reading, literacy and community;
--Oprah’s relationship to genre and form; --Oprah as status arbiter;
--Oprah’s relationship to international communities (e.g. South Africa)

One-page abstracts addressing any of these or other topics regarding Oprah Winfrey's life and work are due 30 September 2006. Completed papers will be due 15 February 2007.

Please send abstracts (one-side 8½? x 11?/A4) and a 300-word bio (via email or post) to:

In the US: Angela Cotten, Ethnic and Gender Studies Program, California
State University (Stanislaus), Turlock, CA 95382, acotten@csustan.edu,

Outside the U.S.: Kimberly Springer, American Studies Department,
King’s College London, Strand Campus, London WC2R 2LS,