Doctor Who and Race - don’t judge till it’s published
by Lindy Orthia


The book I have edited, Doctor Who and Race, which will be published in July, has received a lot of attention in the media and on blogs this week.
Almost all that attention can be sourced back to one newspaper article about the book.
Since the book has not been published yet, almost no one has actually read it. This has meant that almost everything written about it has been a distorted, false view, based on third- or fourth- hand information.



I don’t particularly want to talk about the book in depth until it is published. I prefer discussion and debate to be based on facts not hearsay, so I would like to talk about it once people have had a chance to read it.
But I do want to clear up some misconceptions about it now.
1. Not just criticising Doctor Who
First, and perhaps most importantly, the book contains very diverse views about race and Doctor Who.
Only a subset of essays are critical of the program’s casting decisions or its representations of race-related subject matter.
Others celebrate the ways Doctor Who has been cast with respect to race, or how its stories have shown racism, slavery and colonialism to be deeply wrong.
Still others don’t lean one way or the other, but instead merely document and reflect on some of the ways Doctor Who has engaged with race.
This diversity of opinions will be very clear to anyone who reads the book - stay tuned for when it is published.
2. Not academics versus fans
Second, an ‘academics’ versus ‘fans’ dynamic has been falsely constructed this week, as if the book’s authors are all navel-gazing academics picking on a thing that fans have no problem with. This is plain wrong.
All the book’s contributors are regular viewers, and almost all identify as fans. (And incidentally, academic fans, like other fans, are capable of dissecting something without losing the love.)
In addition, about half of the contributors are not academics. That was always the intention of the book as you can see at the original book blog. Anyone in the world who came across the announcement calling for submissions was welcome to submit a short or long essay for the book on any aspect of race and Doctor Who that took their interest (and the blog saw over 3000 visits from 43 countries while submissions were still open). Everyone who ended up contributing to the book did so because of a deep love, abiding interest and/or serious commitment to the program. Some have written in an academic style and others have not.
I myself am a fan and have been watching Doctor Who since 1979. I am also an academic by trade. But my job was not my primary motivation for editing this book, since I teach science communication, not race studies. This book was, for me, a labour of fan-love, as well as a work of academic interest. It emerged from the fact that a lot of people were already blogging about Doctor Who and race, so it seemed an opportune time for a book on the subject.
3. Newsflash - newspaper quotes someone out of context
Third, my sentence that has often been bandied about this week - “perhaps the biggest elephant in the room is the problem, privately nursed by many fans, of loving a television show even when it is thunderingly racist” - has been taken thunderingly out of context.
In the book this sentence comes towards the end of my conclusion chapter, in a section which discusses the fact that many people who study Doctor Who are also fans, and so are personally invested in what they study and write.
The sentence is not stating that Doctor Who is thunderingly racist. The sentence is saying that fans often feel inner conflict at those times when Doctor Who has moments of racism, because we love the show but don’t love racism. An example is the Doctor’s line in Doctor Who’s first episode, An Unearthly Child, in which he talks about ‘the savage mind’ of ‘the Red Indian’ - the episode may be 50 years old, but we still watch it today, and the line still sits uncomfortably because of its casual racism. My reflection on this is simply asking how we should best deal with that discomfort.
I end the conclusion by quoting from Kate Orman’s essay in the book, in which she says: “because we are fans, we’re capable of being sophisticated, thoughtful viewers, able to see both a story’s successes and its failings.”
I hope that this is true, and that future discussions about this book and its subject will be considered and thoughtful.
4. Don’t judge till it’s published
The final point I want to make for now is: wait until the book is published, read it, and make up your own mind about it then.
I established a blog to accompany the book precisely to enable considered public discussion and debate on this topic. There have already been many bloggers over the past several years who have discussed race in Doctor Who eloquently and sophisticatedly. I hope the book’s blog will serve as a referral point to those other blogs, as well as a place for new discussions.
Those discussions may include criticisms of Doctor Who and Race. But please read the book first.


Read more Posted by Lindy Orthia at 11:06 (3) comments
Discriminate! Discriminate!
The Daily Mail review Doctor Who and Race


A forthcoming Intellect publication is at the centre of an online furore as a result of its uncompromising subject matter. The book, edited by Lindy Orthia and titled Doctor Who and Race, is an edited compilation of articles, bringing together diverse perspectives on race and its representation in Doctor Who. The book was reviewed by the Daily Mail over the weekend and has drawn a lot of comments and reaction through various online sources. The initial review run by the Mail Online has been picked up by a number of other sources including the Telegraph, The Huffington Post and The Sun.
Here is a link to the original article posted by the Daily Mail: Discriminate! Discriminate!


Find the book on our website. eBook coming soon.

Read more Posted by James Campbell at 16:44 (0) comments
Call for Papers: Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies

A complex definition of Italian cinema has emerged since the 1990s, leading to a re-thinking of the current and varied manifestations of national cinemas and media. This CFP intends to contribute to the debate by: considering the role of international co-productions; exploring why films produced outside Italy fit into notions of Italian cinema; examining whether foreign directors producing films in Italy could be factored into a larger definition of Italian cinema; and studying filmmakers of the Italian diaspora.

Proposals are invited on, but not restricted to, the following:
• International co-productions
• Bollywood, Nollywood and Hollywood productions in Italy
• Regional Film Commissions productions
• New digital media, web-based visual texts
• Italian cinema outside of Italy
• Filmmakers of the Italian diaspora
• talian filmmakers working on non-Italian-language films
Send proposals to the Editor, Flavia Laviosa, at
1. 500-word abstract outlining: the topic, critical approach, and theoretical bases of the proposed article;
2. relevant bibliography and filmography;
3. 200 word bio-data followed by a detailed list of the author’s academic publications.
Read more Posted by Jessica Pennock at 17:00 (0) comments
IQ blog update
Catalan Beauty and the Transnational Beast

On May 9th Intellect launched the blog component to our new project IQ (see our feed). As of today our latest article is available to read so please go and take a look.

Catalan Beauty and the Transnational Beast
'How many ways can you describe the same place? Celestino Deleyto and Gemma López look at facets of how Barcelona is represented and experienced, focussing on two relatively recent films that take the city as a driving force of their narrative: Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Biutiful (2010)'

Follow the blog for exciting updates

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Call for Contributions: Iranian independent cinema

Guest Editor: Parviz Jahed

Articles are invited for publication in an edited volume of Film International on the topic of Iranian independent cinema. Independent Iranian cinema consists of the low budget Iranian films with limited affiliation to the government and its financial resources that are critical of the mainstream commercial cinema. It includes the works of notable Iranian directors like Abbas Kiarostami, Jafar Panahi, Mohsen Makhbalbaf, and Asghar Farhadi as well as the underground movies that are produced and distributed without the permission of the authorities and are subject to censorship and intense pressure of the government.The contribution this journal strives to make is to generate critical debate regarding the historical and current situation facing Iran's independent cinema and its major figures, the code of practice of the film censorship and the barriers facing independent cinema in Iran.


Read more Posted by Jelena at 16:30 (0) comments
Television for Women International Conference
University of Warwick 15th-17th May 2013

Read more Posted by Alice Gillam at 11:28 (0) comments