Call for papers - Resisting James Bond : Power, Privilege, and Social (In)Justice in the Daniel Craig Era

Resisting James Bond : Power, Privilege, and Social (In)Justice in the Daniel Craig Era

Edi­ted by Lisa Fun­nell and Chris­toph Lindner

When it was relea­sed in 2006, Casi­no Royale nota­bly shif­ted the deve­lop­ment and desi­gn of the James Bond films. The film not only intro­duces Daniel Craig in the title role but also reboots the ico­nic brand by retel­ling Bond’s ori­gin sto­ry from the moment he attains his “00” license to kill. Across the orphan ori­gin tri­lo­gy – Casi­no Royale, Quan­tum of Solace (2008), and Sky­fall (2012) – the Bond for­mu­la is decons­truc­ted, with defi­ning ele­ments either rewor­ked or gra­dual­ly rein­tro­du­ced, effec­ti­ve­ly upda­ting the films to com­pete in both nar­ra­tive and visual terms against Hol­ly­wood block­bus­ters in the glo­bal film mar­ket. The sequels Spectre (2016) and No Time To Die (2020) conti­nue to flesh out the violent per­so­nal his­to­ry of Bond as he fights to ensure the phy­si­cal safe­ty and resource secu­ri­ty of Bri­tain and its allies.

While popu­lar with cri­tics and fans, the Craig era films relay trou­ble­some mes­sages about power, pri­vi­lege, and issues of social, racial, and envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice. Depic­tions of sexism and miso­gy­ny are par­ti­cu­lar­ly pro­noun­ced as Bond’s cha­rac­ter deve­lops at the expense of women who are threa­te­ned, physically/sexually abu­sed, pro­fes­sio­nal­ly mali­gned, and/or killed. Moreo­ver, the inter­sec­tion of gen­der with race and age points toward mul­tiple and coexis­ting expe­riences of vio­lence and oppres­sion. While some films are argua­bly more pro­gres­sive in their repre­sen­ta­tion of women than others, the Craig era, as a whole, is deci­ded­ly regres­sive – espe­cial­ly when their gen­der poli­tics are com­pa­red to those fea­tu­red in some ear­lier films. With the excep­tion of pro­du­cer Bar­ba­ra Broc­co­li, women play a limi­ted role in the crea­tive deve­lop­ment of the Craig era films and Phoebe Wal­ler-Bridge was added to the script­wri­ting team of No Time To Die late in the pro­cess on the insis­tence of Daniel Craig. Ulti­ma­te­ly, the domi­nant expe­rience sha­ping the Craig era films is one of pri­vi­lege (i.e. white, mas­cu­line, cis-gen­der, hete­ro­sexual, middle-clas­sed, able-bodied, Wes­tern, etc.).

The Craig era films emerge at a time of increa­sing social and poli­ti­cal unrest around the world. The new mil­len­nium has seen the rise of various social jus­tice move­ments that chal­lenge dee­ply entren­ched sys­tems of inequa­li­ty and oppres­sion such as racism, mass incar­ce­ra­tion, national/ethnic sove­rei­gn­ty, sexual vio­lence, LGBTQIA+ rights, immi­gra­tion, reli­gious oppres­sion, pay and wealth inequa­li­ty, cor­po­rate capi­ta­lism, repro­duc­tive jus­tice, envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice, and cli­mate change, among others. Gro­wing awa­re­ness of, and advo­ca­cy for, these issues has been mat­ched within the aca­de­my by an increa­sing num­ber of scho­lars pro­du­cing thought­ful and enga­ging research explo­ring sys­tems of oppres­sion, their inter­sec­tions and per­mu­ta­tions, and their dis­pro­por­tio­nate and nega­tive impact on marginal/minority groups. While focus is often pla­ced on indi­vi­dual actions and ins­ti­tu­tio­nal poli­cies and prac­tices, it is impor­tant to reco­gnize the role that culture plays within these sys­tems. Mains­tream block­bus­ter film, for example, is not sim­ply ‘mind­less’ enter­tain­ment but a key part of a glo­bal cultu­ral indus­try that natu­ra­lizes and nor­ma­lizes pri­vi­lege. A com­pre­hen­sive unders­tan­ding of social injus­tice requires a detai­led consi­de­ra­tion of how culture shapes, main­tains, and ratio­na­lizes various forms of oppres­sion (e.g. “isms” such as racism and ableism) and pro­duces fear (e.g. “pho­bias” such as homo­pho­bia and xeno­pho­bia) in ser­vice of main­tai­ning the sta­tus quo.

As we come to the end of the Daniel Craig era and the Bond fran­chise pre­pares to cast a new actor in the title role and reinvent itself once again, now is the right time to exa­mine how this par­ti­cu­lar grou­ping of 007 films constructs and mobi­lizes condi­tions of power, pri­vi­lege, and social injus­tice. Resis­ting James Bond is a trans­dis­ci­pli­na­ry col­lec­tion that explores inequa­li­ty and oppres­sion in the world of 007 through a range of cri­ti­cal and theo­re­ti­cal approaches. We are loo­king for ori­gi­nal essays that ana­lyze the Craig films from a varie­ty of scho­lar­ly dis­ci­plines (moving beyond tex­tual ana­ly­sis from an English and/or Film Stu­dies pers­pec­tive) and explore topics that have yet to be addres­sed in suf­fi­cient depth. We are par­ti­cu­lar­ly inter­es­ted in ampli­fying voices and pers­pec­tives that are often ste­reo­ty­ped or over­loo­ked by the fran­chise itself.

We wel­come chap­ter pro­po­sals on a varie­ty of topics that include but are not limi­ted to :

  • sexual vio­lence
  • sys­te­ma­tic racism
  • white natio­na­lism
  • queer rea­dings
  • LGBTQIA+ invisibility/erasure
  • ableism and disability
  • xeno­pho­bia
  • the glo­bal south
  • immi­gra­tion and mobility
  • bor­der and secu­ri­ty studies
  • incar­ce­ra­tion
  • impe­ria­lism and decoloniality
  • popu­lar geopolitics
  • capi­ta­lism and wealth inequality
  • cli­mate change
  • resource conflict
  • envi­ron­men­tal justice

Please sub­mit a 250 word abs­tract along with an aca­de­mic CV to Lisa Fun­nell ( by Sep­tem­ber 15, 2020. Please direct any ques­tions or inqui­ries to this email as well.