Call for Papers: Countdown to Hallmark

Since launching its hugely popular “Countdown to Christmas” made-for-TV movie series in 2009, Hallmark has expanded its offerings of American small-town romances to include Valentine’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, New Year’s, and Hanukkah, as well as winter, spring, summer, fall, and “Christmas in July.” Dozens of original films are planned and shot each year, often in Canadian locations such as Vancouver and Ottawa. These now-year-round productions are formulaic, heteronormative, Christian, and overwhelmingly white—and they have been undeniably commercially successful, rocketing Hallmark to cable success and spawning imitations across multiple platforms.

Contributions are invited for this multinational, multidisciplinary collection of essays studying Hallmark Channel movies and Hallmark’s current dominance in the North American media landscape. The collection is intended as part of the Routledge Advances in Popular Culture Studies series. Topics explored may include, but are not limited to:

  • Christian markers, secular tensions, and “inclusivity” (e.g. Hanukkah films)
  • Heteronormative patterns and/or queer influences
  • Racial diversity and/or BIPOC erasure
  • Disability narratives and/or disability erasure
  • Parenthood and challenges or reinforcements of nuclear family structures
  • Evangelical Christianity and “Boycott Hallmark” movements
  • Nostalgic casting (e.g. sitcom stars from the 80s and 90s)
  • Urban and rural—images and myths of the big city vs. small-town America
  • Capitalism, labour, and women’s careers
  • The Hallmark script formula and the romance genre
  • Jane Austen and other literary influences
  • Escapism and formula TV during COVID or other disaster times
  • Cross-promotion (e.g. Hallmark greeting cards, sweaters, tie-in novels)
  • Comparisons between Hallmark productions and competitors such as Netflix and Lifetime

Submit an abstract of 250-400 words and a short bio to Dr. Carlen Lavigne ((carlen.lavigne /at/ rdpolytech.ca) ) by July 15, 2022. Accepted articles of 5000-6000 words will be due by January 15, 2023.