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Doctor Who and Science

30.05.2019 18:35 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Call for edited collection

Deadline: June 30, 2019

In 1963 /Doctor Who /began with the purported intention of using drama  to teach science. Since then it has inspired many people to pursue  scientific careers and the science presented in it has lived on in new  contexts from stage shows to the classroom. The program is now the  world’s longest running science fiction series. The recent re-casting of  the title role with a female actor has served to reinvigorate its global  popularity and interest, in part because some commentators see the  Doctor as a scientist role model. 

At different times /Doctor Who/’s production personnel have been from  science backgrounds (1960s writer Kit Pedler), been avid readers of /New  Scientist /(1970s producer Barry Letts) or wanting to make ‘hard  science’ the substance of drama (1980s script editor Christopher H.  Bidmead). Others have been more cavalier, and science can be either  surface dressing or essential to the plot. The extent to which the central character has reinforced her or his role and credentials as a  scientist has varied across decades. Scientific dialogue can be  scrupulously researched or careless nonsense. The science fiction in the  show can be derivative from the genre (traction beams, teleporters) or  novel. 

This collection is to pull together the latest research into a volume  that examines the dramatic use and possibly abuse of science in /Doctor  Who/ and how it characterises, celebrates or terrifies with science. 

Advice for contributors

This edited collection is under contract with McFarland.  This call for papers is for abstracts of up to 250 words explaining the  focus and approach the contributor/s’ chapter will take. 

Contributions can consider any of the show’s different incarnations  (1963-1989, 1996, 2005-), its spin-off television series and other  Doctor Who media such as novels and audio plays. Contributions  addressing how Doctor Whohas been used to promote public engagement  with science, including through exhibitions in science museums and  popular science works, are also welcome. 

Contributors might like to consider the social, political, ideological,  cultural and economic aspects of science as a way to approach the series  and its content, as well as its depictions of scientist characters and  scientific knowledge. 

The proposed volume is intended to be scholarly but accessible in tone  and approach. Each contribution should be 6000-8000 words all inclusive.  We cannot accept contributions that require the reproduction of images  unless you already hold the rights to reproduce them. 

Suggested reading and key documents are available at 

Email abstracts to both  and  by 30 June 2019. 

About the editors

Associate Professor Marcus Harmes is author of /Doctor Who and the Art  of Adaptation /(2013) and /Roger Delgado:/ /I am Usually Referred to as  the Master / (2017) and contributed chapters to /Doctor Who and Race/,  Doctor Who and History/ and /Time and Relative Dimensions in Faith/. He  is the author of numerous studies on popular culture, science fiction  and the history of British television. 

Dr Lindy Orthia is a senior lecturer in science communication whose  research interests include studies of science in popular fiction. She  has published extensively on representations of science in /Doctor Who/,  examining intersections in the program between science and politics,  ethics, gender, race and environmental disaster. She is the editor of  /Doctor Who and Race/ (2013). 



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