Gender and the Cultural Preoccupations of the American West (fall 2017)
The Rising Tide of Climate Change Fiction (spring 2018)
Call for Papers: Gender and the Cultural Preoccupations of the American West
Studies in the Novel is currently seeking submissions for a special issue on “Gender and the Cultural Preoccupations of the American West,” guest edited by Sigrid Anderson Cordell (University of Michigan) and Carrie Johnston (Bucknell University), which will be published in fall 2017.
This special issue examines the novel as a tool of political engagement through which women writers have challenged prevalent notions of the American West as masculine, antimodern, and untouched. Even thirty years after Annette Kolodny’s foundational study The Land Before Her, recent work by Nina Baym and Krista Comer has shown there is considerable work to be done to account for women writers’ engagement with the West as an imaginative and political space. Likewise, new directions in gender studies, border theory, settler colonialism, and critical regionalism have made new conversations about the Western as a literary genre increasingly urgent.
We invite contributions that examine the ways that women novelists have located themselves in the West—both imaginatively and geographically—asking how these narratives have engaged cultural “preoccupations” with the West as an extension of the predominantly white, masculine public sphere. Examining these narratives, contributors will also evaluate gendered representations of the longstanding contested nature of the “occupation” of western territories and, more recently, US borders.
Possible topics include:
- Women’s writing and borderlands
- Gender and settler colonialism
- Intersections of post-feminism, the post-western, and the post-racial
- Novels about the West as spaces for debate
- New readings of canonical western women writers like Willa Cather and Mary Austin
- Ways that the critical landscape shifts by paying attention to neglected texts
- New readings of under-read women writers
- Women writers and the post-West or post-regionalism
- Globalization and the novel
- Visualities in women’s novels about the West
- The Western novel as a gendered genre
- The gendering of anthropology in narratives about the West
Submissions should be sent in MS Word, devoid of personal identifying information. Manuscripts should be 8,000-10,000 words in length, inclusive of endnotes and Works Cited, have standard formatting (1” margins, double-spaced throughout, etc.), and conform to the latest edition of the MLA Style Manual. Endnotes should be as brief and as limited in number as possible. Illustrations may accompany articles; high-resolution digital files (JPEGs preferred) must be provided upon article acceptance. All copyright permissions must be obtained by the author prior to publication.
Questions and submissions should be sent to email@example.com.
The deadline for submissions is October 1, 2016.
Call for Papers: The Rising Tide of Climate Change Fiction
Studies in the Novel is currently seeking submissions for a special issue on “The Rising Tide of Climate Change Fiction,” guest-edited by Stef Craps (Ghent University) and Rick Crownshaw (Goldsmiths, University of London), which will be published in spring 2018 as part of the journal’s 50th anniversary volume.
Often described as emergent, climate change fiction constitutes a by now well-established set of literary texts that has attracted the attention of both academic and non-academic communities of readers. Prominent examples include Ian McEwan’s Solar, Margaret Atwood’s MaddAdam trilogy, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior, and Nathaniel Rich’s Odds against Tomorrow. The cultural place of this kind of writing has been confirmed by the recent publication of Adam Trexler’s survey Anthropocene Fictions: The Novel in a Time of Climate Change, amidst a growing body of literary-critical work (such as Adeline Johns-Putra’s), and the increasing acceptance into the mainstream of the “cli-fi” label. A typical facet of much climate change fiction is its imagination of a catastrophic future world in which climatological devastation, unfolding but often imperceptible and ignored in our times, is made tangible and inescapable. Other works steer clear of the prevalent post-apocalyptic or dystopian mode: set in the present, they explore the political, ethical, and psychological dimensions and ramifications of climate change at the current moment.
In addition to the rise of fiction grappling with the representational and existential challenges thrown up by a warming planet, the last few years have seen the publication of a significant amount of sophisticated humanities scholarship theorizing climate change and its cultural framings and impacts. Questions of scale have been key, from the planetary imagination of environmental crisis (Ursula Heise), over the conception of climate change as a form of slow violence (Rob Nixon) or a hyperobject massively distributed in time and space (Timothy Morton), to the derangement of temporal and spatial scales by which climate change can be mapped and represented (Timothy Clark). These scalar recalibrations have been prompted by the ascendancy in the academy of the notion of the Anthropocene. Even if the inception date of the new geological epoch defined by the actions of humans is subject to debate (Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin), the conceptualization of humanity’s geological agency has afforded ways to chart the history of our species before and beyond globalized industrial capitalism and its effects on the climate (Dipesh Chakrabarty). Moreover, it has created an awareness of the need to think beyond the humanist enclosures of critical theory (Tom Cohen) and to acknowledge the interconnectedness of the human and the non-human (Jane Bennett; Stacy Alaimo). Meanwhile, postcolonial, feminist, and queer theorists have reminded us of the disparities in agency, vulnerability, and impact among the world’s people in the “age of humans” (Nicholas Mirzoeff; Elizabeth DeLoughrey; Claire Colebrook).
This rich body of theoretical work provides numerous opportunities for developing new approaches to fictions of climate change. We invite paper submissions that engage topics such as the following:
- literary strategies for overcoming the imaginative difficulties posed by the vast scale and complexity of the climate crisis
- conceptualizations of the Anthropocene and how they inform the theory and practice of the literature of climate change
- the relation between climate change fiction and new directions in ecocriticism (especially queer, postcolonial, new materialist, and memory and trauma studies)
- the cultural representation of specific fossil fuels and energy systems in the context of climate change
- representations of the relationship between economic and environmental crises
- the relation between climate change fiction and literary and cultural responses to other “traumas” of modernity, ranging from genocide to the nuclear threat and the discovery of geological time in the early nineteenth century
- widening the canon of climate change fiction: non-Western and minority literature, non-Anglophone literature, literary production prior to the late twentieth century, cultural forms of representation other than the novel, experimental narrative fiction, “high” vs. “low” literature, speculative realism
Submissions should be sent in Microsoft Word format, devoid of personally identifiable information. Manuscripts should be 8,000-10,000 words in length, inclusive of endnotes and works-cited list, have standard formatting (1” margins, double-spaced throughout, etc.), and conform to the latest edition of the MLA Style Manual. Endnotes should be as brief and as limited in number as possible. Illustrations may accompany articles; high-resolution digital files (JPEGs preferred) must be provided upon article acceptance. All copyright permissions must be obtained by the author prior to publication.
Questions and submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for submissions is February 10, 2017.