Call for Papers: Mad Men – The Conference. Co-convened by Middle Tennessee State University and The University of Salford. May 2016.


I’m very pleased to be able to announce the next project in the School of Arts and Media Television Studies Conference Series, Mad Men: The Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, USA Date: May 26-28, 2016.

Convened by the College of Media and Entertainment and the College of Liberal Arts at Middle Tennessee State University, USA, and The School of Arts and Media at the University of Salford, UK.

Keynote speakers to include Matt Zoller Seitz, author of the forthcoming Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion (2015).

Proposals are invited for a three-day international conference on the US television drama series Mad Men. Responding to the series’ conclusion in 2015, this timely event takes the opportunity to explore Mad Men in its entirety via a range of academic approaches. It aims to assess the series’ significant storytelling achievements, including its complex characters, innovative narrative structures, intricate mise en scène and its inventive deployment of popular music. It intends to explore the production conditions that gave rise to this creativity, analyzing the series’ links to the growth of the US basic cable sector as a major site of ‘quality’ TV drama and other key recent industrial shifts. It will look to ascertain the much-discussed Mad Men’s cultural impact, exploring the critical discourses and fan practices that have developed around the series. It furthermore seeks to consider the perspectives that the 1960s-set series brings to a transformative era of US social history, as well as trace its connections to contemporary cultural debates around such topics as race and gender. Through examining this culturally significant series from a number of perspectives, the conference will not only assess Mad Men’s key creative accomplishments but also use the series as a means to consider wider aspects of contemporary television culture, as well as broader societal issues.

Proposals (for single papers and panels of three papers) are invited on (but not limited to) the following topics:

  •   Mad Men and the 1960s
  •   Mad Men and intertextuality across media (e.g. film, literature, poetry)
  •   Mad Men and the representation of race, gender and sexuality
  •   Mad Men and contemporary television industries
  •   Mad Men and television authorship
  •   Mad Men and season/series finales
  •   Narrative structure in Mad Men
  •   Set design and visual style in Mad Men
  •   Character construction in Mad Men
  •   Performance in Mad Men
  •   Music in Mad Men
  •  Symbolism in Mad Men’s mise en scène
  •   Mad Men’s fandom
  •   Mad Men and critical discourses
  •   Mad Men’s promotional surround
  •   Mad Men and media convergence (e.g. social media, digital paratexts, streamed distribution) For a more extensive list of potential paper topics, see the following link:

    Click to access Mad_Men_Topics.pdf

    Individual proposals should be 250 word (approx.). Group panel proposals (three papers) should be 750 words (approx.). Deadline for submissions: December 31, 2015.

    Proposals and queries should be directed to: | To learn more and follow the development of the conference, visit the website:

    As the center of the country music industry, Nashville is one of America’s most culturally vibrant cities, featuring an exciting night life that draws upon the city’s musical heritage. Both out of state and international participants may want to come early and stay late.

    Conference co-conveners: David Lavery & Jane Marcellus (MTSU), Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs, Anthony Smith, & Michael Goddard (University of Salford).

Published by kirstyfairclough

Kirsty Fairclough is Reader in Screen Studies at the School of Digital Arts, Manchester Metropolitan University and Chair of Manchester Jazz Festival. She has published widely on popular culture and am the co-editor of The Music Documentary: Acid Rock to Electropop (Routledge), The Arena Concert: Music, Media and Mass Entertainment (Bloomsbury) and Music/Video: Forms, Aesthetics, Media. New York, (Bloomsbury) and author of the forthcoming Beyoncé: Celebrity Feminism and Popular Culture (I.B Tauris) and co-author of American Cinema: A Contemporary Introduction (Palgrave). Her work has been published in Senses of Cinema, Feminist Media Studies, SERIES and Celebrity Studies journals and she has made several television and radio appearances. Kirsty has lectured internationally on popular culture, feminism and representations of women most notably at The Royal College of Music, Stockholm, The University of Copenhagen, Second City, Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, Middle Tennessee State University, Unisinos Brazil and Bucknell University, Pennsylvania. She has significant experience in international partnership development, particularly in North America and developed the Salford Popular Culture Conference series with international partner universities, including I’ll See You Again in 25 Years, Twin Peaks and Generations of Cult Television: A Two Day International Conference (University of Salford, May 2015) and Mad Men: The Conference (Middle Tennessee State University, May 2016) and Purple Reign: An interdisciplinary conference on the life and legacy of Prince, a three day international academic conference hosted by the School of Arts and Media, University of Salford, UK and the Department of Recording Industry, Middle Tennessee State University, USA.

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