The Velvet Light Trap
The Velvet Light Trap
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- ISSN: 0149-1830
SEMIANNUAL · 8 1/2 x 11 · 112 PAGES/ISSUE · ISSN 0149-1830 · E-ISSN 1542-4251
Shanti Kumar and Derek Johnson, Editors
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.
Volume 90, Fall 2022
A Tale of Two Indies: Amazon Studios and A24 in the Streaming Age
by Ryan David Briggs
Residual Fandom: Television Technologies, Industries, and Fans of Survivor
by Cameron Lynn Brown
Fast Forwarding the Past (on Pause): Daniel Lopatin's Memory Vague and the Hauntological Aesthetic of Vaporwave
by Jordon J. Jacobson
Streaming's Skip Intro Function as a Contradictory Refuge for Television Title Sequences
by Max Dosser
Keeping Up with the Kings
by Lynn Kozak
Distribution in the Streaming Era: A Scholarly Roundtable
moderated by the editors
ReFocus: The Films of Albert Brooks, edited by Christian B. Long
reviewed by Samantha Janes
Film Phenomenology and Adaptation: Sensuous Elaboration, by David Evan Richard
reviewed by Erica Moulton
Dreams of Flight: "The Great Escape" in American Film and Culture, by Dana Polan
reviewed by Josh Martin
Re-Animator, by Eddie Falvey
reviewed by Lance St. Laurent
Whitewashing the Movies: Asian Erasure and White Subjectivity in US Film Culture, by David C. Oh
reviewed by Joseph Shin
Volume 89, Spring 2022
"There Would Be No Kerry Washington without Diahann Carroll": Shout-Out Culture, Sisterhood, and the Discourse of Black Womanhood
by Ashley S. Young
Awarding Chinese-Language Cinemas: Imaginary Transnational Identities of the Golden Horse Awards
by Carol Chih-Ju Lin
Golden Gays: Awards Legitimation from the Globes to GLAAD
by Ben Kruger-Robbins
Industrializing Nationalist Dissent: Music Censorship, 2 Live Crew, and the Politics of Performance at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards
by Michael M. Reinhard
Hollywood's Culture of Scientific and Technical Achievement
by Charles R. Acland
Professional Widows: Contesting History with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
by Alyxandra Vesey
Documentary Film Festivals Vol: 1: Methods, History, Politics, edited by Aida Vallejo and Ezra Winton
reviewed by Jing Wang
Fashion on the Red Carpet: A History of the Oscars©, Fashion, and Globalisation, by Elizabeth Castaldo Lundrén
reviewed by Alex Remington
Cinema and the Cultural Cold War: US Diplomacy and the Origins of the Asian Cinema Network, by Sangjoon Lee
reviewed by Hyun Jung Stephany Noh
Shooting "Midnight Cowboy": Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic, by Glenn Frankel
reviewed by Alexander Geffard
International Film Festivals: Contemporary Cultures and History beyond Venice and Cannes, edited by Tricia Jenkins
reviewed by Nina Linhales Barker
Volume 88, Fall 2021
Toward a Theory of Disability Documentary: Alison O'Daniel's The Tuba Thieves (2013–Present)
by Emma Ben Ayoun
Netflix Originals: The Evolution of True Crime Television
by Elizabeth Walters
Color Correction and the Look of Festival Documentary
by Chris Cagle
Indian Food Television: Tracing the Transformation of Hindi and English Food Shows (2010–2018)
by Dattatreya Ghosh
(Re)Writing Music History: Television, Memory, and Nostalgia in The People's History of Pop
by Leanne Weston
ACT UP Documentaries and the Question of Intermediate Archivial Context
by Matt Connolly
Structural Film, Mondo New Hollywood, and the Violent Image: A Discussion with Sheldon Renan
by Syd Rosen
NSFW: Sex, Humor, and Risk in Social Media, by Susanna Paasonen, Kylie Jarrett, and Ben Light
reviewed by Austin Morris
Hollywood Hates Hitler! Jew-Baiting, Anti-Nazism, and the Senate Investigation into Warmongering in Motion Pictures, by Chris Yogerst
reviewed by Dillon Mitchell
Dialectics without Synthesis: Japanese Film theory and Realism in a Global Frame, by Naoki Yamamoto
reviewed by Lyuwenyu Zhang
Documentary Resistance: Social Change and Participatory Media, by Angela J. Aguayo
reviewed by Matt St. John
New Approaches to Contemporary Adaptation, edited by Betty Kaklamanidou
reviewed by Erica Moulton
Volume 87, Spring 2021
Experiments in the Cine-Olympic Cycle: Camera Technology and Operation in The Grand Olympics (1961) and White Rock (1977)
by Adam Herbert
Beyond Basketball: NBA Entertainment and the Sports League as Global Media Empire, 1982–1990
by Steven Secular
Running the Wrong Pattern: TVTV Goes to the Super Bowl
by Brett Kashmere
From the Tribune to the Tube: The Development of Sports Punditry on Cable Television
by Taylor M. Henry
Dossier: Field Goals—New Directions and Intersections
Maya Moore, Black Lives Matter, and the Visibility of Athlete Activism
by Jennifer McClearen and Mia Fischer
Glorious Bones: Esmaa Mohamoud's Football Fabulation
by Samantha N. Sheppard
How to Know When You Should Quit Your Research Project, or Why Fan Studies and Sports Studies Need Each Other
by Samantha Close
The 2020 National Women's Soccer League Challenge Cup Anthem Protests: The Limits of Symbolic White Allyship
by Charlotte E. Howell
RedBottoms, Gold, and Ass: The Werk of Serena Williams on the Cover of Harper's Bazaar
by Katrina Marie Overby
National Pastimes: Cinema, Sports and Nation, by Katharina Bonzel
reviewed by Alexander Brannan
The Power of Sports: Media and Spectacle in American Culture, by Michael Serazio
reviewed by Hazem Fahmy
Mascot Nation: The Controversy over Native American Representations in Sports, by Andrew Billings and Jason Edward Black
reviewed by Brett Siegel
Peer Review Process and Publication Ethics
Peer Review Process
Articles submitted to The Velvet Light Trap are initially reviewed by the editors, who determine whether the manuscript will be sent to outside reviewers. If chosen for review, the manuscript is then evaluated in a double-blind process by at least two and usually three outside reviewers, including members of the journal’s Editorial Board, and/or other experts in relevant fields as selected by the editors. This peer review process is designed to ensure that VLT publishes only original, accurate, and timely articles that contribute new knowledge, insights or valuable perspectives to our discipline.
Reviewers play a vital role in ensuring the quality of papers published in the journal.
Questions addressed by reviewers include:
- Is the topic within the scope of the journal?
- Is the topic significant or sufficiently interesting to warrant publication?
- Is the scholarship adequately documented and is relevant literature reviewed?
- Are the research aims and any methodological choices made by author clear and justified?
- Is the article well organized and clearly written?
Reviewers make one of three recommendations: acceptance, acceptance with revision, rejection. Reviewers are asked to include comments explaining the recommendation to provide authors with suitable feedback to improve the article. Our aim is to create a constructive process that benefits the journal and the authors while respecting the time and efforts of all volunteer reviewers.
We understand that the timeliness of decisions and publication is a major concern of authors. The typical manuscript is reviewed by one of the editors and sent out to reviewers within a couple of weeks after submission. Reviewers typically have six weeks to prepare their review (a second round of reviews may be solicited if the initial reviewers disagree). Then a couple of weeks are typically required to reconcile reviewer comments (and identify any significant copyediting issues for papers that were accepted or accepted with slight revisions). Thus, it is quite possible that an author could hear back in less than two months from the time of submission. However, the realities of the peer-review process sometimes extend our timeline. You will receive a response as expeditiously as possible. If you are seeking publication for a tenure packet, please allow for ample review time and let us know this is a consideration. Authors receive the reviewers’ comments and are often asked to revise the manuscript in line with the reviewers’ and/or editor’s suggestions. If the revised article is accepted for publication, the editor then determines the journal issue in which it will appear. Authors can help speed the process by ensuring they follow the submission requirements and, if accepted, addressing the reviewers comments and any copy-editing requirements in a timely fashion.
Statement of Publication Ethic
The editor(s) and editorial board of The Velvet Light Trap are committed to the following:
- We will make our best efforts to ensure that our peer-review processes and editorial decisions are fair and unbiased, and that manuscripts are judged solely on their merits by individuals with appropriate levels of expertise in the subject area.
- We have the right to reject a manuscript at any point in the process if, after an unbiased evaluation, it is the opinion of the editor(s) it does not align with the journal’s mission or editorial policies or would be in conflict with the journal’s legal requirements.
- We will treat submitted manuscripts as confidential documents and will not discuss them or share information about them with anyone outside the editorial staff, editorial board, potential reviewers, or the publisher.
- We expect transparency on the part of editors and reviewers regarding potential conflicts of interest and will assign manuscripts to individuals who are not expected to have such conflicts.
- We expect authors to help us uphold our ethical standards by
- submitting only original works;
- respecting the intellectual property rights of others;
- adhering to the journal’s policies regarding simultaneous submissions;
- acknowledging sources;
- appropriately crediting all authors, other research participants, and funding sources;
- disclosing any potential conflicts of interest; and
- notifying the editors and/or publisher of any significant errors discovered after submission or publication.
- We will promptly investigate any credible allegation of unethical or illegal practices related to an article we have published. When warranted, we will issue corrections, retractions, and/or apologies, working with the author(s) as appropriate to find the best resolution.
- Concerns may be reported directly to the editor(s) or publisher by email at
Call for Papers | Submissions
CAll for Papers: Reconsidering Mass Media
The Velvet Light Trap, Issue 93
Summer 2022 saw Top Gun: Maverick gross $1 billion globally in its first month of release; in Fall 2021, Squid Game became Netflix’s most popular series, with 1.65 billion hours streamed in its first four weeks of release; on May 6, 2022, Bad Bunny became the Spotify artist with the most one-day streams globally, with 183 million streams; and TikTok has received over 3.5 billion downloads since 2018. Additionally, streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime have massive reach over international audiences, despite their varied location-specific libraries. In terms of reaching a large audience or consumer base, these instances fit historical definitions of mass media. However, studying these phenomena require conjunctural and complex analyses of mass media that highlight both historical continuities and contemporary transformations of the concept through industrial, textual, and audience lenses.
Scholars, commentators, journalists, and audiences have used the concept of mass media to refer to media industries and companies with vast reach, popular genre formulas, and widely-consumed media artifacts ranging from consumer electronics to programming and content. More recently, assumptions of the homogeneity and uniformity of “the mass” have been challenged by industrial trends toward audience fragmentation and content diversification. Trends beginning with the widespread introduction of cable television in the United States in the 1970s through the present ever-expanding online media landscape—including app-based, algorithm-driven personalization of content—have resulted in the segmentation of audiences, media industries, and content across gendered, racial, ethnic, sexual, generational, and cultural lines. However, within segmented audiences, networks of users, and local spaces, there are instances of broadly disseminated and collectively shared mediated experiences. For example, we have seen mass media phenomena occur within specific digital publics, social cohorts, other groups, and spaces such as Black Twitter and Gay Twitter, BookTok, or local news telecasts. Beyond the recognition of internal heterogeneity of the mass and the fragmentation of audiences, global media production, distribution, and consumption challenge and reimagine the national boundaries as a privileged site of distinction. Even as current scholarly and industrial discourses challenge the assumed homogeneity and unity of mass media, many of these logics and tactics continue to shape the media landscape.
The Velvet Light Trap #93 seeks a variety of topics and approaches to reconsider mass media in both contemporary and historical contexts. We welcome submissions that work to revisit, redefine, renegotiate, complicate, or challenge previously-held notions of mass media through a multitude of approaches, including (but not limited to) audience studies, cultural geography, discourse analysis, distribution studies, global media studies, localism, media industries studies, sports media studies, taste cultures, and textual analysis. We welcome contemporary and historical explorations of any of the following themes:
- Defining and understanding mass media and the notion of “the mass”
- Examining under- or unstated assumptions of gender, race, sexuality, and/or representation within mass media, both in terms of texts and audiences
- Mass media and geo-cultural markets, distribution, and/or consumption
- Distinctions or intersections between mass media and popular media
- Reconsidering notions of “mass” in a global, multi-pronged media landscape
- Mass media as a framework to describe texts that are made for mass consumption
- Considering how methods of remediation, reevaluation, or revisitation may construct mass media
- Mass media and audience maximization
- Locating and negotiating mass media within niches (and vice versa)
- Reconsidering taste cultures as they have been assigned to mass media
- Complicating notions of nationality within mass media
- Highlighting instances of “unintended” mass media (e.g. sleeper successes)
- Interrogating ideas of “going viral” and “viral media”
- Imaginations and constructions of the audiences privileged as “mass”
- Mass mediation as it pertains to data mining, surveillance capitalism, and machine learning
The Velvet Light Trap is pleased to announce that, in addition to accepting submissions that relate to the above theme, we will accept general submissions broadly related to the journal’s focus on critical, theoretical, and historical approaches to film and media studies. We aim to create a new space for scholarship that enhances the journal’s overall mission and work that continues the research conversations to which our themed issues have contributed. We hope that scholars inspired by the work published in our themed issues, past and present, will especially consider submitting their work. Even as our themes will continue to change each issue, we want to sustain ongoing investment in and investigation of the questions each issue of The Velvet Light Trap poses.
Submissions should be between 6,000 and 7,500 words, formatted in Chicago Style. Please submit an electronic copy of the paper, along with a separate one-page abstract, both saved as Microsoft Word files. Remove any identifying information so that the submission is suitable for anonymous review. Quotations not in English should be accompanied by translations. Send electronic manuscripts and/or any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 31, 2023.
About the Journal
The Velvet Light Trap is a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal of film, television, and new media. The journal draws on a variety of theoretical and historiographical approaches from the humanities and social sciences and welcomes any effort that will help foster the ongoing processes of evaluation and negotiation in media history and criticism. While TVLT 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.
Graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Texas at Austin coordinate issues in alternation, and each issue is devoted to a particular theme. The Velvet Light Trap’s Editorial Advisory Board includes such notable scholars as Manuel Avilés-Santiago, Lauren S. Berliner, Andre Brock, Dolores Inés Casillas, Aymar Jean Christian, Norma Coates, Brian Fauteux, Allyson Nadia Field, Racquel Gates, Aniko Imre, Deborah Jaramillo, Derek Kompare, Lori Morimoto, Ruben Ramírez-Sànchez, Debra Ramsey, Bob Rehak, Samantha Noelle Sheppard, and Alyx Vesey. TVLT's graduate student editors are assisted by their local faculty advisors: Mary Beltrán, Ben Brewster, Jonathan Gray, Michele Hilmes (emeritus), Lea Jacobs, Derek Johnson, Shanti Kumar, Charles Ramírez Berg, Thomas Schatz (emeritus), and Janet Staiger (emeritus).
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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