Call for Papers: Religion and James Bond
Volume Editor: George Tsakiridis, PhD
Abstract and CV Due: November 30, 2022
Initial Final Paper Due: June 1, 2023
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It’s hard to imagine a more iconic action hero from the past 60 years than James Bond. He encapsulates the Western ideal in a spy hero from the Cold War Era till today. Though much has changed, this figure has been the focus of twenty-five (plus) films. He embodies popular culture for two generations of British and American viewers, and helps us to see the development of pop culture through film, social mores, and sexuality over time. He is a perfect topic for the Theology, Religion, and Pop Culture series.
Having started in novels, and made more famous through film, Bond has spanned multiple generations of viewers, helping us to see the evolution of the character and the culture though the technology, sexual norms, and politics of several decades. He is a lens through which we can view religion and how religion has been portrayed over time. The accepted behavior of a character like Bond, as well as the accepted visuals of the series changed slowly, then rapidly over the course of the films. Having been played by six actors (not counting an outlier or two), he also has been interpreted and reinterpreted many times. As scholars, this gives us an opportunity to see how popular culture lenses have changed over time so that meaning, morals, and aesthetics can be central to this study. This is not meant to be a hit piece on Bond, as some scholars have done in recent years, but a critical study of a character that many of us enjoy, looking at the good while not ignoring the less than good. There’s a reason he is so beloved, despite his flaws; he taps into something underlying all of us – our very human nature.
The volume will focus on a number of themes, including, but not limited to: sin/redemption, sexuality, political theology, and religious plurality. Because of both its political and multicultural emphases, Bond gives us a glimpse at a British agent’s Cold War development as he engages multiple cultures and peoples. This is seen both in his own journey of redemption and his redemption of others. It is seen in his mistreatment of women and culture as well as his embrace of it. In Bond’s spycraft, we see both the good and the bad sides of human nature, sometimes at the same time. As can be inferred from the multitude of themes, this volume will engage both religious studies scholars and theologians, having some of both already signed on in the pre-seeding of this volume. Scholars of all types are welcome: religious studies, theology, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities.
Though the volume will focus predominately on the films, I also hope to see proposals on Ian Fleming’s novels, the history and development of Bond, and perhaps even the video games and collectibles. We will have to see what the call for papers brings in, but there is a lot of fertile ground in the world of 007.
Some potential categories that are priorities for this volume are as follows (though other ideas are welcome!):
-World Religions in James Bond (and the accurate or inaccurate portrayal of them). This might be exploring the use of one religion, such as Hinduism or Buddhism throughout the Bond corpus, or examining a broader theme. (this topic is high priority)
-Sexual Ethics in Bond and Bond Girls
-Morality and Sin in the Context of Technology
-Ethics of Spycraft in the Cold War
-Good and Evil during the Cold War
-The Music of James Bond – Can either be a song or two, or the use of music throughout the series. (this topic is high priority)
-Political Theology in James Bond Films
-Religion in Ian Fleming’s James Bond Novels
-Religion/Theology in James Bond Comic Books (I know it will be tough to get this one, but if anyone is interested, I am listening!)
-M, Q, and Moneypenny – How do the supporting characters make for a robust theology in Bond?
-Bond by Actor: Looking for pieces that specifically will look at the individual film corpus of Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan, and Craig (this topic is high priority – especially a piece on Lazenby/OHMSS)
-Bond by Film – Looking at the presentation of religion within individual films – implicit here is the cultural appropriation/interpretation of religion and culture in Bond films
-James Bond Collectables – the iconography of James Bond
-James Bond in Video Games (Goldeneye was groundbreaking in its development of first-person shooter games) – Exploring the philosophy of Bond on the small screen
Feel free to get creative. This volume looks to highlight creative, diverse, and well-researched chapters.
Abstracts should be approximately 300-500 words and should present a basic outline of your potential contribution to the volume and potential methodology. If you make the initial cut, you will be contacted by Dr. Tsakiridis to discuss and finalize your contribution to the volume. Send an abstract and a CV to firstname.lastname@example.org. Final drafts will be approximately 6,000 to 7,000 words, but exact word counts for each article will be discussed at the time of acceptance. You are welcome to contact Dr. Tsakiridis in advance of the proposal deadline to float a potential topic if you are unsure. Early submissions are strongly encouraged.
The tentative schedule for production is:
November 30, 2022 – Call for Papers Ends
June 1, 2023 – First Drafts Due
July 1, 2023 – Drafts Reviewed and Returned
September 1, 2023 – Final Drafts Due
October 1, 2023 – Final Edits Made Before Peer Review
November 1, 2023 – Drafts to Peer Review
January 15, 2024 – Final Revisions Due
February 29, 2024 – Submission to Publisher
Summer/Fall 2024 – Publication
George Tsakiridis holds a PhD in theology from the Lutheran School of Theology and is a Senior Lecturer of Philosophy and Religion at South Dakota State University. He is the editor of Theology and Spider-Man, co-editor of Theology and Breaking Bad and a contributor to www.popularcultureandtheology.com (check out his essays on Fleabag and Suits!). He is also co-host of the podcast Cheers Weekly. He looks forward to your creative proposals!