CALL: The Politics of Panem: Critical Perspectives on the Hunger Games (Sense)

Series: Critical Literacy Teaching Series: Challenging Authors and Genres

Volume Title: The Politics of Panem: Critical Perspectives on the Hunger Games

Editor: Sean P. Connors, University of Arkansas

By any measure, Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series is a commercial success. In 2012, the bookselling behemoth Amazon reported that the trilogy outsold the Harry Potter series, no small accomplishment considering that the latter has the distinct advantage of consisting of seven novels. A filmic adaptation of the eponymous first novel in the Hunger Games trilogy premiered in the same year, and a sequel, Catching Fire, is scheduled for release later this fall. Still, in spite of its crossover appeal with audiences of all ages, and its subsequent blurring of the distinction between “adolescent” and “adult” literature, the novels that comprise Collins’ trilogy have received surprisingly little critical attention, a result, perhaps, of their status as young adult literature, a genre that is stigmatized in academic settings. Read from the perspective of critical theory, it is possible to appreciate Collins’ series as a multilayered narrative that lends itself to close reading, and which challenges readers to examine complex themes and social issues.

What does reading the Hunger Games series from a Marxist perspective reveal about the material basis of culture? Read from a feminist perspective, how does the trilogy illuminate power relations between men and women? In what ways does the trilogy instantiate, or subvert, dystopian genre conventions, and to what effect? To what extent might adapting the series for film complicate its ability to participate in sharp-edged social criticism? Most importantly, what does a decision to read Collins’ novels from the standpoint of theory reveal about the potential complexity and sophistication of young adult literature? By asking questions of this sort, this edited collection challenges the lingering perception that literature for adolescents is plot driven, superficial fare by making visible the complex readings that are available when readers examine works such as those that comprise the Hunger Games trilogy from the perspective of critical theory. In doing so, it reveals Collins’ series to be a complex narrative that, in the words of Aristotle, instructs at the same time that it delights.

This volume is currently under contract with Sense Publishers. Individuals interested in contributing to the collection are encouraged to submit a 300-400 abstract to Dr. Sean Connors at by December 31, 2013. Authors whose proposals are accepted will be asked to submit an initial draft of their chapter (approximately 8,000 words) by March 1, 2014.

Table of Contents (Working)

Preface,” by P. L. Thomas

“Introduction,” by Sean P. Connors

Chapter One: “District 14: Reader as Spectator in Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games,” by Hilary Brewster and Barbara Kiefer

Chapter Two: “A Philosophical Reading of the Hunger Games,” by Brian McDonald

Chapter Three: “Hungering for Middle Ground: Binaries of Self in Young Adult Dystopia,” by Meghann Meeusen

Chapter Four : “I Was Watching You, Mockingjay”: Surveillance Culture and Identity,” by Sean P. Connors

Chapter Five: Worse Games To Play?: Deconstructing Resolution in the Hunger Games,” by Susan Tan

Chapter Six: “The Hunger Games and the Fall of the Empire: Intertextuality and Ideology,” by Roberta Seelinger Trites

Chapter Seven: “The Hunger Games as Cultural Critique,” by Anna O. Soter

Chapter Eight: “Children’s Film Theory and the Hunger Games,” by Ian Wojcik-Andrews and Iris Shepard

“Afterward,” Sean P. Connors

IN-PRESS: James Baldwin: Challenging Authors (Sense Publishers)

In-press with Sense.

Series: Critical Literacy Teaching Series: Challenging Authors and Genres

Volume: James Baldwin: Challenging Authors

LITE-Henderson-HB_Proof copy

Editors, A. Scott Henderson and P. L. Thomas, Furman University

The recognition and study of African American (AA) artists and public intellectuals often include Martin Luther King, Jr., and occasionally Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and Malcolm X. The literary canon also adds Ralph Ellison, Richard White, Langston Hughes, and others such as female writers Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou, and Alice Walker.

Yet, the acknowledgement of AA artists and public intellectuals tends to skew the voices and works of those included toward normalized portrayals that fit well within foundational aspects of the American myths reflected in and perpetuated by traditional schooling. Further, while many AA artists and public intellectuals are distorted by mainstream media, public and political characterizations, and the curriculum, several powerful AA voices are simply omitted, ignored, including James Baldwin.

This edited volume will invite and gather a collection of essays that confront Baldwin’s impressive canon or writing and his role as a public intellectual while also exploring Baldwin as a confrontational writer, expatriate, civil rights agitator, and openly gay individual during a highly repressive era.

Cover portrait of James Baldwin by Roy Thinnes

%22JAMES BALDWIN%22 - Acrylic, c Roy Thinnes

%22JAMES BLUE SUIT%22 - at MLK funeral - Acrylic, c Roy Thinnes

Table of Contents [working]

Introduction, P. L. Thomas

  1. Conversion Calls for Confrontation: Facing the Old to Become New in the Work of James Baldwin, McKinley E. Melton
  2. Baldwin and the Black Theater, Susan Watson Turner
  3. Baldwin in South Africa, Hugo Canham
  4. From James’ Portrait to Baldwin’s Room: Dismantling the Frames of American Masculinity, Dwan H. Simmons
  5. Another Country: James Baldwin at “Home” (and) Abroad, Sion Dayson
  6. Feeling in Critical Consciousness: James Baldwin’s Emotions as Radical Critique of Capitalism, Jeffrey Santa Ana
  7. James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and the Jeremiad Tradition, James Tackach
  8. James Baldwin: Artist as Activist and the Baldwin/Kennedy Secret Summit Circa 1963, Charles Reese
  9. Uplift Versus Upheaval: The Pedagogical Visions of Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin, A. Scott Henderson
  10. The Agitating Power of Civil Rights Cool in “Going to Meet the Man,” Beazley Kanost
  11. James Baldwin vs. William Buckley and the Soul of America, Seneca Vaught
  12. James Baldwin’s Gospel of Postcategorical Love, Pekka Kilpeläinen
  13. “Fame Is the Spur”: James Baldwin’s Portrait of the Artist in His Later Novels and His Personal Struggle with Fame, Jacqueline Jones Compore
  14. “Digging through the Ruins”: Just Above My Head and the Memory of James A. Baldwin, Ernest L. Gibson, III

Author Biographies


Call for essay proposals DUE: May 15, 2013

Essays accepted, author confirmations due: May 31, 2013

Initial essay drafts DUE: September 20, 2013

Editor feedback, drafts returned: October 1, 2013

Final/ revised essays DUE: November 15, 2013

Proofs due December 8, 2013

Final draft submission to Sense: December 15, 2013