Journal Information

  • 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.

Recent Issues

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

Book Reviews

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

Book Reviews

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

Book Reviews

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

Book Reviews

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.

Review Timetable

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: Genres and Disruption
The Velvet Light Trap, Issue 92 (to be published Fall 2023)

Special Issue Theme: Throughout the history of on-screen media, disruptions in its social, cultural, political, or economic backdrop have resulted in transformations of the types of media produced and distributed. Further, the types of stories told through media—whether delivered through film, broadcast, cable television, or online platforms—often respond to shifts that are external to entertainment industries themselves. In the contemporary landscape, factors like increased collaboration across global boundaries, changes around the relative primacy of Hollywood as central to mediated storytelling, lessened space between rapidly expanding tech companies and media makers, and generalized uncertainty following a global pandemic that dynamically changed the way people relate to the media they consume, all contribute to what narrative patterns have maintained relevance, which have fallen away, and which have emerged as more popular than ever. Amidst these shifts, media scholars continue theorizing various aspects of genre: the increased blending and bending of genres, the diminishing boundaries between reflexive, nostalgic storytelling and new generic cycles stridently responding to these changes.

For this issue, we welcome submissions that examine the ways in which genre speaks to and illuminates the role of media in the contemporary landscape. Topic areas can include, but are not limited to shifts in aesthetic sensibilities, transnational media and its impact on contemporary generic norms, and the roles of particular social, cultural, political, industrial, or economic events/dynamics on generic emphases. Further, while contemporary socio-cultural conditions may have created ruptural possibilities and actualities in genre across different forms of mediated storytelling, consideration and excavation of historical precedent and preamble for generic evolutions are also encouraged. In what ways have media makers responded to changes in industrial operating procedures through genre? Where are continuities between previous historical disruptions to entertainment industry norms visible? How are cultural and social dynamics implicated in the advent of increasingly blended genres? What can be understood about the rise and fall of particular generic cycles when audiences are considered instead of creators, and what comes to light when the reverse is contemplated? What are the implications of heightened transnational flows of influence—accelerated by the rapid adoption of streaming by even its most skeptical audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic—on the types of generic trends we see in the contemporary media landscape?

Potential Topics for Themed Submissions

  • Generic evolutions and changes and how they impact mainstream and/or alternative models of media production Changing aesthetic considerations across visual media distributed via film, television, online platforms, and social media
  • The impact of digital and social media on genre conventions
  • The relationship between genre and myth in the contemporary landscape
  • Continuities and distinctions between generic conventions of the contemporary media landscape and preceding periods
  • Identity and representation in relation to genre and changes to generic norms
  • Media creators navigating traditional and newer forms of distribution simultaneously
  • Implications of changes to distribution on types of exhibition as related to genre
  • Current social/political/cultural unrest and the relative influence on genre—with respect to: what creators are compelled to make, which stories audiences want to consume, and to which narratives distributors believe audiences will respond most
  • The relationship between genre conventions and hierarchies/forms of labor
  • Historical shifts in consumption practices for generic media, including shifts in genre fandoms and in genre audiences as imagined by media producers.

NEW FOR ISSUE 92! Open Submissions: The Velvet Light Trap is pleased to announce that, in addition to accepting submissions that relate to the above theme, it will begin accepting 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.

Submission Guidelines: Please be aware that our editorial process requires us to consider all submissions—themed and open-call—for publication in a specific issue. We do not have a rolling deadline; all submissions received by the deadline listed below will be reviewed for possible publication in Issue 92. Acceptance for publication will depend on successful peer-review as well as the capacity of the issue in question. We cannot, unfortunately, defer publication to future issues.

All 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 thevelvetlighttrap@gmail.com.

All submissions are due September 30, 2022.


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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