Popular Culture and Philosophy

A blog for contributors and editors by Series Editor, George A. Reisch

The Twilight Zone and Philosophy, Call for Abstracts

Posted on | November 10, 2017

The Twilight Zone and Philosophy

Editors: Alexander E. Hooke and Heather Rivera

Of the many venues in popular culture and philosophy, few present such a wide range of perplexities about human nature as The Twilight Zone. Its programs depict the human as idealist, pathetic, loyal, alienated, trusting, self-deluded, trusting, violated, among so many other attributes. The shows can be construed as thought experiments that reflect perennial themes and disputes in philosophy.

The Twilight Zone was a revolutionary moment in television culture. Among various rankings of the top 100 TV shows of all time, The Twilight Zone is the only one made in the 1950s/60s that ranks among the top ten. It has influenced a variety of directions in subsequent television production and creativity, including the current popular series Black Mirror.

Twilight Zone and Philosophy attempts to bring the insights and paradoxes of Rod Serling’s project to contemporary audiences through a variety of philosophical perspectives. If you are interested in this project, please send us a proposal/abstract of 300-400 words. Topics and writing should be accessible to a general humanities and undergraduate audience. Final essays be between 2,500 and 3,500 words (For accurate references to specific episodes, please check the definitive The Twilight Zone Companion, by Marc Zicree.)

Possible themes or titles:

  • Can loving a robot be true love?
  • Humor as Despair in Twilight Zone
  • Whether we know we are in the Fifth Dimension
  • Surprises in Time and Space
  • Fear and Trembling among the masses
  • A Machine calls my Name…Should I answer?
  • What’s wrong with humans being food for aliens?
  • Dreams or Realities—Testing the limits of our imaginations
  • Beauties, Beasts and Aesthetic Norms
  • Shattered Eyeglasses for a Misanthrope
  • Joy in Forgotten Places and Times
  • Reincarnations of Twilight Zone, from Night Gallery to Black Mirror
  • Alienation as a permanent human condition
  • The play and curse of reason
  • How deep is the pit of our fears, and how high the summit of our knowledge?

Send proposals/abstracts to Alex Hooke at ahooke@stevenson.edu and Heather Rivera at munkzilla1@gmail.com.

Our tentative schedule:

January 15, 2018: Deadline for Abstract/Proposals
February 1: Notification of accepted abstracts
March 1: Deadline for first drafts
May 1: Submission of final drafts


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Since its inception in 2000, Open Court's Popular Culture and Philosophy® series has brought high-quality philosophy to general readers by critically exploring the meanings, concepts, and puzzles within television shows, movies, music and other icons of popular culture.