Series: Youth Culture and Pedagogy in the 21st Century

William Reynolds and Brad Porfilio, editors

Lexington Books

Proposed volume title:

Adaptation as Investigations: Critically Rethinking Medium, Genre, and Text

P. L. Thomas, editor

[A]s we put into practice an education that critically provokes the learner’s consciousness, we are necessarily working against myths that deform us. As we confront such myths, we also face the dominant power because those myths are nothing but the expression of this power, of its ideology. (Freire, 2005, p. 75)

Throughout the 1980s, music fans began to debate music videos as the popularity of MTV increased. Those debates often involved arguments about both the film quality of each video and whether or not the adaptation of song to video remained true to the original song.

As pop culture, music videos created a text for students to investigate media and genre as well as their own reading, re-reading, writing, and re-rewriting of the world. As Johns (2008) explains, students as both readers and writers need to gain genre awareness—in their roles as students but also in their emerging agency and autonomy. Text adaptations—multiple text versions across media and forms developing from one foundational text (see here for examples)—are ideal contexts for investigating how medium, genre, form, creator, and audience all interact to create meaning(s).

This volume seeks chapters that begin with an adaptation unit (texts across media and genres) in order to investigate medium, genre, form, reading, writing, text, and voice as elements of critical literacy. Chapter authors will be encouraged to investigate boundaries of texts and media by confronting texts such as traditional print texts, film, comics/graphic novels, songs, web-based texts, and emerging forms as they are represented in text adaptations (for example, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 as a traditional novel adapted into film and graphic novel).

Chapters should address the following points of emphasis:

  • The role of critical literacy in the broader focus on literacy in formal schooling.
  • The traditional assumptions about text as they are challenged and reshaped by a wide-range of media and genres.
  • School-based assumptions about reading and writing as they contrast with pop culture representations of reading and writing.
  • Traditional norms of “literary” texts as those inform and marginalize popular texts (among a wide range of media).
  • The tensions created when an original text is adapted or re-booted and how those multiple forms investigate “quality” texts in terms of remaining true to the original and as unique texts.
  • How adaptation, allusion, fan fiction, and sampling (for example) complicate traditional views of plagiarism and citation in formal academic settings (as opposed to pop culture).
  • How adaptation and collaborative texts (film, comics/graphic novels) confront text analysis and “ownership” of texts.
  • The role of the New Media (blogging, Twitter, etc.) in understanding text, reading, and writing as well as medium and genre.

Interested chapter authors are invited to submit proposals and the following information by May 31, 2014 (an initial list of contributors is needed before a contract can be issued):

  • 300-word proposal with title.
  • 50-75 word author(s) bio.
  • 10 key words.
  • Preferred deadline for first full draft ( a final timeline for the project will be designed once proposals have been accepted).

Preliminary plans are for including about 15 chapters of 6000-7000 words. Citations will be in the most recent edition of APA.

Send proposals and any queries to


Freire, P. (2005). Teachers as cultural workers: Letters to those who dare to teach (D. Macedo, D. Koike, & A. Oliveira, Trans.). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Johns, A M. (2008). Genre awareness for the novice academic student: An ongoing quest. Language Teaching, 41(2): 237-252.

Thomas, P. L. (in-press). Adventures in adaptation: Confronting texts in a time of standardization. In P. Paugh, T. Kress, & R. Lake, eds., Critical and new literacies: Teaching towards democracy with/in/through post-modern and popular culture texts. TBD.

Thomas, P. L. (2012, Fall). Lost in adaptation: Kurt Vonnegut’s radical humor in film and print. Studies in American Humor, 3(26), 85-101.