Reminder: Call for papers for “Can The Subaltern Be A Superhero?” (Abstracts due May 30)

With the CFP posted here, to H-Net, to CFP List, and to numerous list servs, Rafael Ponce-Cordero and I have been receiving helpful feedback regarding the focus to our volume Can The Subaltern Be A Superhero? The Politics of Non-Hegemonic Superheroism. We also have been receiving abstracts and inquiries of interest: thanks to everyone who is writing to us!

There is still time before the May 30 deadline. We are interested in abstracts that consider what happens when the superhero is not male, heterosexual, white, or American. Topics fitting this call for papers may include, but are not limited to, female superheroes, LGBTQ superheroes, minority superheroes in the United States and elsewhere, and superheroes from the Global South.

If you have questions about potential topics that you are considering, please email Rafael ( and me (

And please share the CFP below with anyone you know who may be interested in this volume. Thanks for your consideration!

Can the Subaltern Be a Superhero?
The Politics of Non-Hegemonic Superheroism

Send 300-word abstracts and short bios to Rafael Ponce-Cordero at with subject line “CFP – Can the Subaltern Be a Superhero?” by May 30, 2016.

Superheroes are, by definition, guardians of law and order, i.e. of the status quo. Not coincidentally, the majority of them—and certainly the most famous ones—are male, straight, and white. Yet there are costumed crime-fighters who do not conform to that tacit rule and serve, in this sense, as examples of what we can call alternative superheroism. Those are the ones this collection of essays will examine.

Topics fitting this call for papers may include, but are not limited to, the following general themes:

  • Female superheroes
  • LGBTQ superheroes
  • Minority superheroes in the US and elsewhere
  • Superheroes from the Global South

What happens when the superhero is not male, heterosexual, white, and/or American? How do female, gay, or minority characters reconcile their “otherness” with their roles as guardians of the status quo? Are costumed crime-fighters from the Global South different from their First World counterparts? Can you get truth and justice, without the American way? How does the non-hegemonic imagination handle an imaginary that is hegemonic almost by nature? In short, can the subaltern be a superhero?

In a world where the figure of the superhero is such a pervasive staple of popular culture and enjoys such a degree of commercial success in comic books, movies, and other media both inside and outside the US, it is important to understand the politics involved and explore the possibility of non-hegemonic and even anti-hegemonic agency contained within a seemingly all-hegemonic construct.


Abstracts should include the title, the author(s) name and institutional affiliation, and contact details. They shall clearly state the aims of the paper, the methodology used, the theoretical orientation including literature, and the main conclusions. The editors will ask the authors of selected proposals to submit their final articles (length: 6,000 to 8,000 words) no later than October 1, 2016.


Abstracts by May 30
Decision by June 15
Papers by October 1


Dr. Rafael Ponce-Cordero, Keene State College
Dr. Derek McGrath, Independent Scholar

Contact Information 

Dr. Rafael Ponce-Cordero, Keene State College

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