CFP: Special Thematic Dossier, STEM in US Popular Culture: Assessing Gender Discourse, Stereotypes and Mainstreaming

Calls for Submissions

The Age of Enlightenment saw the emergence and development of science fiction as a way of imagining different futures and of making sense of the world and humanity through scientific and technological advances. This macro genre not only explores imagined (dys/u)topias but also reflects the current ideologies that instigate them and, at the same time, provides a space for marginalized communities and minorities to represent their realities.Despite the success of this type of genre fiction in US popular culture with people from diverse backgrounds and identities, the persistent gender inequality in STEM-related fields tends to prevail in fiction. This has been widely discussed both in scholarly work and in the public sphere. The fight for equality and gender mainstreaming has been included in numerous political agendas and discourses (national and international), along with pedagogical interventions and science dissemination programs. However, popular culture is still in further need of critical explorations that interrogate the ideologies that can either perpetuate or challenge patriarchal heteronormative representations of gender in connection to science and technology. 

This special thematic dossier aims to offer different explorations and analyses of the ways in which US popular culture texts can offer both positive and negative representations of the STEM fields in connection to gender. We are looking for intersectional approaches that go beyond ‘white feminism’ and beyond a limited understanding of gender, paying attention to gender-nonconforming individuals, class-related issues, neurodivergence, and any instances of othered bodies in fictional and non-fictional popular culture from the United States. 

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Interrelationship between STEM, gender, and popular culture: the portrayal of masculine, feminine, and gender-nonconforming individuals in STEM-centered popular media narratives
  • Representation of STEM in popular culture: specifically those texts aimed at women and/or prominently featuring female protagonists 
  • How popular culture representations of STEM and gender operate within the struggle for power among culture, ideology, and subculture
  • Othered bodies: marginalization versus intersectionality in science and technology dissemination 
  • Race/Ethnicity and STEM with a gender perspective: Afro(Latinx), Indigenous, and Chincanx popular culture, minority perspectives, borderland spaces, and Afrofuturism
  • Representations of women, non-binary people, and non-normative gender explorations in sci-fi 
  • Pedagogy and education: STEM dissemination in popular culture, deconstructing the existing gendered challenges within the field and working toward equality
  • Digital technology and virtual realities as safe spaces for marginalized groups
  • The use of science and technology in depictions of the future as critiques or reevaluations of current realities: tech-noir and sci-fi utopias, dystopias, post/apocalyptic scenarios, and retrofuturism
  • Cyborgs, AI, and the human: representations, conflicts, and horrific developments
  • Representation of health issues and technological advancement: care robots and the representation of disabilities, human aging, biomedical issues
  • The gender gap through the science and technology behind superhero narratives
  • Relevance of gender representation and STEM in hybrid genre narratives

We will publish two separate dossiers with two different deadlines and publication dates, each focusing on the representation of gender and STEM in different mediums:

Deadline for submission: April 15, 2022 | to be published in vol 4 no 1 (Nov. 2022)

For this first deadline, we are interested in papers that seek to engage with questions of intersectionality and STEM in US popular culture, prominently focusing on gender representation, spanning from cultural products aimed at dissemination and debate on STEM to Science Fiction texts such as films, TV series, comics and graphic novels, and genre fiction. 

Deadline for submission: October 15, 2022 | DIGITAL MEDIA | to be published in vol 4 no 2 (May 2023)

For this second deadline, we are interested in papers that explore these same questions of gender representation in STEM-related products within US popular culture, in texts such as video games, new media narratives (i.e.: twitter threads, meme accounts…), YouTube channels, and other productions within the digital realm.

Submission guidelines

REDEN accepts proposals of articles (6000-7000 words approx. including references) about any aspect related to the call. Please, upload your full article to as a single file (.doc, .docx, .odt). Keep in mind that you will have to upload an abstract and keywords as well during the submission process.

You can find author guidelines here on the journal’s page ( to prepare your paper, as indicated using the MLA manual of style 8th/9th edition.

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