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SEMIANNUAL · 8 1/2 x 11 · 112 PAGES/ISSUE · ISSN 0149-1830 · E-ISSN 1542-4251
VLT is collectively edited by graduate students at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and The University of Texas at Austin, with the support of media scholars at those institutions and throughout the country. Each issue provokes debate about critical, theoretical, and historical topics relating to a particular theme.
The Velvet Light Trap is a journal devoted to investigating historical questions that illuminate the understanding of film, television, and other media. It publishes articles and interviews written with the highest scholarly standards yet accessible to a broad range of readers. The journal draws on a variety of theoretical and historiographic approaches from the humanities and social sciences. The journal welcomes any effort that will help foster the ongoing processes of evaluation and negotiation in media history and criticism. While The Velvet Light Trap maintains its traditional commitment to the study of American film, it also expands its scope to television and other media, to adjacent institutions, and to other nations' media. The journal encourages both approaches and objects of study that have been neglected or excluded in past scholarship.
The Velvet Light Trap issues calls for papers based on specific themes. Submission requirements may vary from one call to another, and submissions must be sent to the university issuing the call. The format should follow the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. The entire essay, including block quotations and notes, should be double spaced. Quotations not in English should be accompanied by translations. Photocopies of illustrations are sufficient for initial review, but authors should be prepared to supply camera-ready photographs on request. Illustrations will be sized by the publisher. Permissions are the responsibility of the author.
Rethinking Documentary and Nonfiction in 2020
The current media ecology places more emphasis than ever on the role of nonfiction media in the creation and obfuscation of “truth.” Documentary theory has probed the dialectical relationship between the documentary impulse to represent reality and the sometimes-argued impossibility of media to do just that (Barnouw 1993; Bruzzi 2000; Nichols 2001; Platinga 2005). The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and the current global protests galvanized by the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks, and countless other Black Americans have laid bare the role that audio-visual media plays in shaping reality and inspiring collective action. There should be an urgency in scholarship on nonfiction media to engage, analyze, and theorize a wider range of documentary texts, modes, practices and trends.
For this issue, we welcome submissions that examine the creation, circulation and discourses surrounding nonfiction media. We purposefully choose to emphasize nonfiction media as opposed to simply documentary because we are interested in a range of submissions that engage with not only film or television, but also papers on podcasts, news media, social media, internet culture, video games, animation and virtual reality. These articles could include but are not limited to discussing the role of nonfiction media as record or archive and how participatory media culture plays a role in opposing (or reinforcing) hegemonic narratives. How do technology and aesthetics impact the ways nonfiction media represents its indexical relationship with reality? What role do media circuits and platforms play in curating and presenting nonfiction media to consumers/audiences? What can we learn about the rhetorical power of nonfiction media by studying its uses and misuses circulating public health information?
Potential submission themes
Submissions should be between 6,000–7,500 words (approximately 20-25 pages double-spaced), formatted in Chicago style. Please submit an electronic copy of the paper, along with a one-page abstract (no more than 100 words), both saved as Microsoft Word files. While images are not required for submissions, if your submission includes images, please ensure that they are high resolution and included as an image file separate from your Word files. Remove any identifying information so that the submission is suitable for anonymous review. The journal’s Editorial Board will referee all submissions. Send electronic manuscripts and/or any questions to email@example.com.
About the Journal
The Velvet Light Trap is a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal of film, television, and new media studies. Graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Texas-Austin coordinate issues in alternation. Our Editorial Advisory Board includes such notable scholars as Hector Amaya, Ben Aslinger, Miranda Banks, Caetlin Benson-Allott, Mark Betz, Michael Curtin, Kay Dickinson, Lisa Dombrowski, Daniel Herbert, Lucas Hilderbrand, Debra Jaramillo, Roberta Pearson, Debra Ramsay, Avi Santo, Jacob Smith, Jonathan Sterne. VLT's graduate student editors are assisted by their local faculty advisors: Mary Beltrán, Ben Brewster, Jonathan Gray, Lea Jacobs, Derek Johnson, Jeremy Morris, Shanti Kumar, Charles Ramírez Berg, Thomas Schatz, and Janet Staiger.
Wisconsin Editorial Office
Dept. of Communication Arts
Vilas Hall – Sixth Floor
The University of Wisconsin – Madison
Madison, WI 53706
Austin Editorial Office
Dept. of Radio-Television-Film
2504 Whitis Ave., STOP A0800
The University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-1067
The Velvet Light Trap is indexed in Academic Search Premier, America: History and Life, Communication Abstracts, Contemporary Culture Index, Film Literature Index, Historical Abstracts, Humanities International Complete, IBR (International Bibliography of Book Reviews), IBZ (International Bibliography of Periodical Literature), International Index to Film Periodicals, and Sociological Abstracts.
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