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Celebrity Culture and Social Inquiry 
38th Edition
Media Experts

Prof. P. David Marshall
Dr Anita Krajnc
Dr Louis Massey 
Dr Samita Nandy
Dr Jackie Raphael 
Dr Celia Lam

Dr. Basuli Deb
Dr Hilary Wheaton
Dr Mira Moshe
Dr Nandana Bose
Dr Will Visconti
Josh Nathan
Shannon Skinner 

Advisory Board

Dr Anita Krajnc
Dr Louis Massey
Dr Samita Nandy
Dr Jackie Raphael 
Dr Celia Lam
Dr Nicole Bojko
Dr Basuli Deb
Dr Hilary Wheaton
Dr Mira Moshe
Dr Radha Maharaj
Dr Robinder Sehdev
Dr Yaya Mori
Tushar Unadkat
Ravi Kumar

Editorial Board

Dr Robert Caine
Dr Hilary Wheaton
Dr Jarret Ruminski
Dr Nalini Mohabir

Dr Will Visconti 
Nidhi Shrivastava
Christine Bode

Communication Manager

Dr Louis Massey

Founding Director

Dr Samita Nandy

Featured Publications

Celebrity Studies

Fame in Hollywood North

Celebrity & The Media

A Companion to Celebrity


Building Bridges in Celebrity Studies

Bridging Gaps: Higher Education, Media and Society




First of all, my best Season’s wishes to you!
I thought I would mention two great gifts for the holidays:
WaterHill Publishing is offering 60% off on Fame in Hollywood North by Samita Nandy. Visit to purchase it and for more offers.
P. David Marshall published The Celebrity Persona Pandemic:
Also, Sylvia Martin published Haunted: An Ethnography of the Hollywood and Hong Kong Media Industries:  
If you read those or other books, please share your reviews with Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS) members. We are looking forward to hearing from you!
Please note that the early bird registration deadline for 2017 LA CMCS conference is December 31, 2016. The registration form is now available here:
The latest Calls for Papers, media coverage, and videos are given below.
Dr Louis Massey
Advisory Board Member & Communication Manager
Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS)

Call for Papers “Purple Reign: An interdisciplinary conference on the life and legacy of Prince”, Media City UK, University of Salford, UK May 2017

A two-day international conference hosted by The School of Arts and Media, University of Salford, UK and the Department of Recording Industry, Middle Tennessee State University, USA 24th – 26th May 2017 Media City UK, University of Salford, UK.


Dr Mike Alleyne, Dept of Recording Industry, College of Media & Entertainment, Middle Tennessee State University

Dr Kirsty Fairclough, School of Arts and Media, University of Salford, UK

Tim France, School of Arts and Media, University of Salford, UK
Proposals are invited for a two-day international conference on the life and legacy of Prince.

This conference aims to provide fresh perspectives on the creative and commercial dimensions of Prince’s career, re-examining the meanings of his work in the context of his unexpected death.

This conference seeks to address the issue of Prince’s significant influence and lasting appeal from a number of multi-disciplinary perspectives.  We welcome proposals from scholars in the fields of popular music studies, sound studies, gender studies, cultural studies, television studies, celebrity studies, film studies, visual arts, performance studies, digital and social media and related disciplines.

The conference presents a timely consideration of the cultural impact, iconic status of Prince and his global legacies across many media platforms. It will examine all aspects of his creative output and the ways in which it intersects with video, performance, literature, theatre, film, digital culture. design and fashion.

Single and panel proposals are invited on, but are not limited to, the following:

Prince as musician.

Prince as songwriter.

Prince and fandom.

Prince and racial representations.

Prince, feminism and gender relations.

Prince as actor.

Prince and performance style.

Prince’s music videos.

Prince and fashion.

Prince as star/celebrity.

Prince’s death.

Prince and media representations.

Prince as enigma.

Submission guidelines:

Deadline for abstracts: 31st January, 2017

Panel proposals should consist of a 500word abstract plus a 100word biography from each participant. Proposals should be sent to:

Individual submissions should consist of 300 word abstracts plus a 100 word biography and should be sent

Call for Papers
Historical Social Research
Special Issue: Celebrity’s History


In 1957 C Wright Mills observed that celebrities ‘often seem to have celebrity, and nothing else’.‘Rather than being celebrated because they occupy positions of prestige,’ wrote Mills, ‘they occupy positions of prestige because they are celebrated’. It was, however, Daniel Boorstin’s catchy phrase,‘the celebrity is a person who is known for his well-known-ness’ five years later which has dominated much of the subsequent thinking about celebrity.

One of the effects of Boorstin’s prominence in the literature on celebrity has been that the more sociologically and historically interesting aspects of Mills’ approach were also buried underneath Boorstin’s catchphrase and his ‘from hero to celebrity’ cultural pessimism. Leo Braudy’s detailed examination of the history of fame, The Frenzy of Renown, then established itself in 1986 as the benchmark for all historical considerations of celebrity. Braudy himself, though, muddied the waters a little by focusing on the term ‘fame’ rather than ‘celebrity’, thereby constructing the question of the history of celebrity as one of a transition from fame to celebrity, with ensuing discussions about where that transition point should be located and how it should be explained.
This might explain why Lucy Riall felt in 2007 that ‘the history of celebrity has yet to written’ (p. 41). Although Simon Morgan has more recently noted the growth in reference to celebrity in historical writing across a number of fields, he nonetheless thought that it remains an important task for scholars working in the field of celebrity studies to move more decisively beyond the restriction of their field of vision to the 20th century. The problem is to avoid mistaking as unique, characteristics of celebrity that have much longer genealogies, leading to different conceptions of how celebrity should be connected with different aspects of the broader social, political and economic context. A growing body of work has been done over the last 10 years which responds to the call to ‘historicizecelebrity’, in books such as Fred Inglis’s A Short History of Celebrity, Antoine Lilti’s Figures Publiques, and Georges Minois’s Historie de la celebritie, Tom Mole’s edited collection Romanticism and Celebrity Culture, and there has been extensive work by a range of historians specializing in theatre and literature addressing the question of the celebrity status of their period or their particular case studies.
This special issue of Historical Social Research will work towards developing the various themes that have emerged in that literature, as well as perhaps adding new ones. The diversity of approaches to the history of celebrity raise a number of important historiographical issues and concerns, as well as questions around ‘the history of celebrity’s present’, in the sense that the how celebrity’s history is constructed plays a central role in how it its contemporary character and dynamics are understood and analysed. For example, if one sees celebrity as primarily a mass media phenomenon, using the term ‘celebrity culture’, this leads the analysis in particular directions, whereas if one sees celebrity as a characteristic of all social networks of varying degrees and types of complexity, using the concept ‘celebrity society’, then generates quite different analytical conclusions.
The types of questions that emerge in thinking about the history of celebrity include: should fame and celebrity be seen as lying on a historical continuum, with one ‘turning into’ the other, or are they referring to quite different aspects of societal recognition, elite formation, and prestige? How should key figures in the history of celebrity – Rousseau, Byron, Garrick, Casanova, but also more recent characters such as Zsa Zsa Gabor or even Kim Kardashian – be placed in their historical context? Should one think in terms of individual ‘celebrities’ or in terms of the broader social networks within which they were located? How can one analyse the relationships between celebrities, at any one time, or over time? What, exactly, is wrong with Boorstin’s distinction between ‘hero’ and ‘celebrity’,and how have the celebrity aspects of the social recognition of heroes evolved over time, linked to which other social, political and economic developments? Can one do a specifically economic or political history of celebrity’, what would that look like, and how would it be related to the more common cultural history?
To what extent and in which ways can the contemporary critical attitude to celebrities be compared with earlier disputes and debates, such as tension between official and popular saints, or the antitheatrical critiques of the theatre between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries? How can the important turning points in the development of celebrity be explained in terms of both their prior and their subsequent histories? Should celebrity be seen simply as a product of processes of modernisation, or has it also been a driver of those processes in its own right? How have the histories of celebrity in different national contexts differed from each other, working with differing vocabularies, generating differing configurations of celebrity today? What role has celebrity played in the development of concepts of national identity in the nation-building and state-formation? In order to begin to address questions such as these, it is possible to group them into the following four categories:
1. Lines of historical development
One can think of the history of celebrity in terms of its links with other historical processes of social, political, economic, cultural, and technological change – marketization, civilizing (and decivilizing) processes, urbanisation, theatricalisation, individualisation, the development of capitalism, industrialisation, state-formation, changes in gender relations. Here we would be interested in examinations of how the development of celebrity over time can be connected with debates and discussions in more established fields of historical inquiry. For example, there has been considerable debate around the concepts of ‘individualism’, ‘self-fashioning’, and the emergence of the performative self, and it would be useful to delve further into the implications of those discussions for a deeper understanding of celebrity, and vice-versa. Here it could also be possible to link the history of celebrity with other well established arguments concerning social history, such as Max Weber’s concept of the process of rationalisation and disenchantment, Michel Foucault’s account of the emergence of a disciplinary society and then the development of governmental rationality, or Norbert Elias’s analysis of the civilizing process and the ways in which personality structures or habitus accompany and underlie broader social transformations.
2. Key historical periods, turning points, watersheds
Precisely because celebrity has a history, it is possible to identify particular periods when the surrounding societal changes were accompanied by connected changes in the character and dynamics of celebrity. The Enlightenment and the 18th century has been given considerable attention, as has the 19th century from the introduction of photography, but it could always be possible to take the existing discussions in new directions, and to examine in more detail other historical periods and turning points, such as the Renaissance (however one wishes to define that), the emergence and on-going development of printing (also as the foundation for later developments in radio, film, television and the internet), the Protestant Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, or the 12th century Renaissance. Here we would be most interested in studies of periods and historical watersheds that have so far received little or no attention framed in terms of the concept of celebrity.
3. Comparative historical analysis
So far in this field there has been a concentration of attention on a relatively small number of countries – England, France, the United States – and it is important to get a clearer and more detailed global picture of how the history of celebrity in those settings relates to that in other countries, ranging from Western Europe to Eastern Europe, the European colonial contexts, and all around the world. Here any discussion of the history of celebrity in a hitherto unexplored national setting would be valuable, especially if it brings to light material that remains untranslated into English.
4. Conceptual, theoretical, historiographical issues
Discussions of key conceptual issues would also be very welcome, such as the question of the relationship between fame and celebrity, whether the history should be approach in terms of epistemic breaks or framed more in terms of long-term processes, how the concept of celebrity relates to the idea of the ‘public sphere’, and how the Habermasian conception of the public sphere might be revised, the conceptual problem of anachronism – projecting current conceptions of celebrity into the past – and how to develop a conception of how celebrity which avoids this problem, the problem of the use of individual cases or anecdotes to develop a historical argument, whether celebrity should be approach in terms of individuals or networks; these are the types of conceptual, theoretical and historiographical questions that could usefully be discussed.

Book reviews, review essays
Reviews of significant books or sets of books, either of relatively new publications, or casting new light on established works, would also be welcome, especially if they have not yet been published in English. These could be either shorter reviews or longer review essays.
We would welcome submissions in any of these areas, but also in fields perhaps not mentioned here that develop the rapidly growing field of studies of the historical dimensions of what we experience as a particularly contemporary feature of social life, celebrity.
About Historical Social Research
Historical Social Research (HSR) is an international, interdisciplinary journal bringing together historians and a range of social scientists researching key contemporary topics and addressing core conceptual challenges. It was founded in 1976, and is published by GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. The wide range of topics covered in previous issues includes Risk and Social History, Animal Politics, Markets and Market Societies, New Political Economy, and Cultural Life Scripts. Four HSR issues and a supplement are published every year. The journal is recognized for its quality and relevance for the scientific community, and is registered by various digital information services, found on SocINDEX with Full Text, JSTOR, and on the Social Science Citation Index (Thomson Scientific).
Choosing the HSR for your article has a number of advantages. HSR has a large and diverse readership stemming from many different countries across the globe from various areas of the social sciences and humanities. Publishing in HSR is one of the best ways to ensure your work is read by a large and diverse audience, and its fast turn-around time means that you’ll get your work to this readership quickly. The online release of HSR articles at SocINDEX with Full Text coincides with the print publication, which contributes to their worldwide reception. Articles will be available immediately through JSTOR and the GESIS open access repository SSOAR: and Immediately after publication of your contribution, you have the right to upload the published HSR print version on your institutional website, or on academic social networks such as or More information at:

Prof Robert van Krieken, University of Sydney
Dr Nicola Vinovrški, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Queensland
To submit, please send an extended abstract of 3 pages or less to:

Robert van Krieken before 31 January 2017. Decision notices will be sent by 28 February 2017, and full papers, review essays or book reviews will be due on 29 September 2017.

Length: Papers and review essays, between 3,000 and 10,000 words; book reviews, 500-1,000 words.

Media Coverage

CMCS board member Dr Nalini Mohabir’s op-ed on Prince Harry, royal fame, and colonialism has been published by The Guardian.  Read and share the article:
CMCS board member Dr Anita Krajnc has been covered for her outstanding contributions to animals. Read her news on CBC:
CMCS Director Dr Samita Nandy’s uses an intersectional approach and comments on sexism and speciesism in Hollywood. The media commentary is now available here: Special thanks to Dr Corey Wrenn, Director of Gender Studies and Lecturer of Sociology with Monmouth University.
Celebrity Chat
CMCS Board member Dr Jackie Raphael released two Celebrity Chat videos that cover our exclusive Beyoncé Debate held in Barcelona this year.  You can now watch and share the debates here:

Part 1 
Part 2 



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