Law, Society and Popular Culture

Symposium announcement and call for papers: the politics and law of Doctor Who

25 October 2013

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Centre for Law, Society and Popular Culture and Westminster Law School are hosting The Politics and Law of Doctor Who symposium.
Friday 5 September 2014
University of Westminster

Doctor Who is the BBC’s longest-running drama television series and the world’s longest-running science fiction series. The massive public attention devoted to the show’s 50th anniversary and to its choice of new lead actor confirms that the programme merits serious academic attention.

Politics, law and constitutional questions often feature prominently in Doctor Who stories, whether in the form of the Time Lords’ guardianship of the universe, the Doctor’s encounters with British Prime Ministers, or the array of governance arrangements in Dalek society. The show’s politics is also an adventure through time, from the internationalising moralism of the Barry Letts-Terrance Dicks years, the dark satire of Andrew Cartmel’s period as script editor and the egalitarianism of the Russell T Davies era.

Yet the politics and law of Doctor Who have yet to be the subject of wide-ranging scholarship. Proposals for 20 minute papers are therefore invited for a symposium on 5 September 2014, to be held in the University of Westminster’s historic Regent Street building just metres away from BBC headquarters. Possible subjects for papers might include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Doctor Who’s ideology
  • The Doctor’s political morality
  • Comparison of politics of Doctor Who with politics of other science fiction
  • The merits/demerits of Harriet Jones as Prime Minister
  • Doctor Who and devolution
  • Portrayals of British sovereigns in Doctor Who
  • Doctor Who’s politics of class, gender and sexuality
  • Fan responses to “political” Doctor Who stories
  • International law, intergalactic law and non-interference
  • Globalisation and corporate domination
  • Satire in Doctor Who
  • Politics and law in audio adventures, comic books and novels
  • War crimes and genocide
  • The politics of UNIT and Torchwood
  • The will of villains to secure power
  • Political history and political nostalgia in Doctor Who
  • Doctor Who’s construction of British national identity

Abstracts should be 250 words in length, and should be accompanied by a 100-word biography of the author. Abstracts should be sent to nicold@wmin.ac.uk – deadline for receipt of abstracts is 17 January 2014.


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