Call for papers — Resisting James Bond: Power, Privilege, and Social (In)Justice in the Daniel Craig Era

Call for papers — Resisting James Bond: Power, Privilege, and Social (In)Justice in the Daniel Craig Era

Resisting James Bond: Power, Privilege, and Social (In)Justice in the Daniel Craig Era

Edit­ed by Lisa Fun­nell and Christoph Lindner

When it was released in 2006, Casi­no Royale notably shift­ed the devel­op­ment and design of the James Bond films. The film not only intro­duces Daniel Craig in the title role but also reboots the icon­ic brand by retelling Bond’s ori­gin sto­ry from the moment he attains his “00” license to kill. Across the orphan ori­gin tril­o­gy – Casi­no Royale, Quan­tum of Solace (2008), and Sky­fall (2012) – the Bond for­mu­la is decon­struct­ed, with defin­ing ele­ments either reworked or grad­u­al­ly rein­tro­duced, effec­tive­ly updat­ing the films to com­pete in both nar­ra­tive and visu­al terms against Hol­ly­wood block­busters in the glob­al film mar­ket. The sequels Spec­tre (2016) and No Time To Die (2020) con­tin­ue to flesh out the vio­lent per­son­al his­to­ry of Bond as he fights to ensure the phys­i­cal safe­ty and resource secu­ri­ty of Britain and its allies.

While pop­u­lar with crit­ics and fans, the Craig era films relay trou­ble­some mes­sages about pow­er, priv­i­lege, and issues of social, racial, and envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice. Depic­tions of sex­ism and misog­y­ny are par­tic­u­lar­ly pro­nounced as Bond’s char­ac­ter devel­ops at the expense of women who are threat­ened, physically/sexually abused, pro­fes­sion­al­ly maligned, and/or killed. More­over, the inter­sec­tion of gen­der with race and age points toward mul­ti­ple and coex­ist­ing expe­ri­ences of vio­lence and oppres­sion. While some films are arguably more pro­gres­sive in their rep­re­sen­ta­tion of women than oth­ers, the Craig era, as a whole, is decid­ed­ly regres­sive – espe­cial­ly when their gen­der pol­i­tics are com­pared to those fea­tured in some ear­li­er films. With the excep­tion of pro­duc­er Bar­bara Broc­coli, women play a lim­it­ed role in the cre­ative devel­op­ment of the Craig era films and Phoebe Waller-Bridge was added to the scriptwrit­ing team of No Time To Die late in the process on the insis­tence of Daniel Craig. Ulti­mate­ly, the dom­i­nant expe­ri­ence shap­ing the Craig era films is one of priv­i­lege (i.e. white, mas­cu­line, cis-gen­der, het­ero­sex­u­al, mid­dle-classed, able-bod­ied, West­ern, etc.).

The Craig era films emerge at a time of increas­ing social and polit­i­cal unrest around the world. The new mil­len­ni­um has seen the rise of var­i­ous social jus­tice move­ments that chal­lenge deeply entrenched sys­tems of inequal­i­ty and oppres­sion such as racism, mass incar­cer­a­tion, national/ethnic sov­er­eign­ty, sex­u­al vio­lence, LGBTQIA+ rights, immi­gra­tion, reli­gious oppres­sion, pay and wealth inequal­i­ty, cor­po­rate cap­i­tal­ism, repro­duc­tive jus­tice, envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice, and cli­mate change, among oth­ers. Grow­ing aware­ness of, and advo­ca­cy for, these issues has been matched with­in the acad­e­my by an increas­ing num­ber of schol­ars pro­duc­ing thought­ful and engag­ing research explor­ing sys­tems of oppres­sion, their inter­sec­tions and per­mu­ta­tions, and their dis­pro­por­tion­ate and neg­a­tive impact on marginal/minority groups. While focus is often placed on indi­vid­ual actions and insti­tu­tion­al poli­cies and prac­tices, it is impor­tant to rec­og­nize the role that cul­ture plays with­in these sys­tems. Main­stream block­buster film, for exam­ple, is not sim­ply ‘mind­less’ enter­tain­ment but a key part of a glob­al cul­tur­al indus­try that nat­u­ral­izes and nor­mal­izes priv­i­lege. A com­pre­hen­sive under­stand­ing of social injus­tice requires a detailed con­sid­er­a­tion of how cul­ture shapes, main­tains, and ratio­nal­izes var­i­ous forms of oppres­sion (e.g. “isms” such as racism and ableism) and pro­duces fear (e.g. “pho­bias” such as homo­pho­bia and xeno­pho­bia) in ser­vice of main­tain­ing the sta­tus quo.

As we come to the end of the Daniel Craig era and the Bond fran­chise pre­pares to cast a new actor in the title role and rein­vent itself once again, now is the right time to exam­ine how this par­tic­u­lar group­ing of 007 films con­structs and mobi­lizes con­di­tions of pow­er, priv­i­lege, and social injus­tice. Resist­ing James Bond is a trans­dis­ci­pli­nary col­lec­tion that explores inequal­i­ty and oppres­sion in the world of 007 through a range of crit­i­cal and the­o­ret­i­cal approach­es. We are look­ing for orig­i­nal essays that ana­lyze the Craig films from a vari­ety of schol­ar­ly dis­ci­plines (mov­ing beyond tex­tu­al analy­sis from an Eng­lish and/or Film Stud­ies per­spec­tive) and explore top­ics that have yet to be addressed in suf­fi­cient depth. We are par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in ampli­fy­ing voic­es and per­spec­tives that are often stereo­typed or over­looked by the fran­chise itself.

We wel­come chap­ter pro­pos­als on a vari­ety of top­ics that include but are not lim­it­ed to:

  • sex­u­al violence
  • sys­tem­at­ic racism
  • white nation­al­ism
  • queer read­ings
  • LGBTQIA+ invisibility/erasure
  • ableism and disability
  • xeno­pho­bia
  • the glob­al south
  • immi­gra­tion and mobility
  • bor­der and secu­ri­ty studies
  • incar­cer­a­tion
  • impe­ri­al­ism and decoloniality
  • pop­u­lar geopolitics
  • cap­i­tal­ism and wealth inequality
  • cli­mate change
  • resource con­flict
  • envi­ron­men­tal justice

Please sub­mit a 250 word abstract along with an aca­d­e­m­ic CV to Lisa Fun­nell (lisa.m.funnell@gmail.com) by Sep­tem­ber 15, 2020. Please direct any ques­tions or inquiries to this email as well.