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Monthly Archives: May 2018

Realities and Fantasies in Society and Politics

deadline for submissions:
June 4, 2018

full name / name of organization:
South Atlantic Modern Language Association

contact email:

South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) 90 Conference
November 2-4, 2018
Birmingham, Alabama

“Fighters from the Margins: Socio-Political Activists and Their Allies”

French Panel III: Realities and Fantasies in Society and Politics

Expressions of socio-political activism can take many forms. This panel welcomes papers and presentations that explore the conference theme, “Fighters from the Margins: Socio-Politicial Activists and their Allies” in 19th, 20th, and 21st century French and Francophone literature, visual arts, cinema, culture, and history. Papers dealing with non-fiction or fantastical representations of society and politics are especially welcome. This panel will also consider papers from the early modern period that discuss approaches to socio-political criticism. Please submit a 300-word abstract in French or English, brief bio, and A/V requirements to Michelle Lanchart, The deadline has been extended to Monday, June 4th.

Topics of interest and approaches may include but are not limited to:

· Allegorical representations/critique of society and politics
· Bande dessinée
· Biopolitics
· Breaking through the margins of society
· Colonial, decolonial, and postcolonial studies
· Creole in the Francophone World
· Cultural Studies
· Dada
· Ecocritism
· Feminism (western and non-western)
· The Fantastic
· Gender studies
· Genre theory
· Gothic, Neo-Gothic
· Magical realism
· Performance
· Political science
· Propaganda
· Protests
· Queer Theory
· Realism
· Resisting the status quo
· Science fiction, fantasy, and horror
· Social movements in French and Francophone regions/communities
· Surrealism
· Terrorism
· Violence
· War

The Legacy of Watership Down: Animals, Adaptation, Animation

deadline for submissions:
June 30, 2018

full name / name of organization:
University of Warwick

contact email:

The Legacy of Watership Down: Animals, Adaptation, Animation
An interdisciplinary symposium

University of Warwick
Saturday 10th November 2018

Organised by: Dr Catherine Lester

Keynote speaker: Dr Chris Pallant (Canterbury Christ Church University)

2018 marks 40 years since the release of Watership Down, Martin Rosen’s acclaimed 1978 animated film. Adapted from Richard Adams’ 1972 children’s novel, it tells the tale of a group of anthropomorphised rabbits who flee the imminent destruction of their warren in search of a safe haven. In recognition of the film’s 40thanniversary, this one-day symposium seeks to foster academic discourse on this landmark of British animation from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

A beautifully-realised piece of animation, the film has inspired filmmakers including Guillermo del Toro, Wes Anderson and Zack Snyder. Yet the film is best remembered for its legendary status as an emotionally traumatic viewing experience, especially for children. This is in part due to Art Garfunkel’s tearjerker ‘Bright Eyes’, a hit single written for the film. Watership Down is also known for its graphic violence which seems directly at odds with its BBFC ‘U’ certificate (indicating that is suitable for all ages) and its subject matter of anthropomorphised rabbits. Thanks to this ambiguous status as a ‘children’s film’, Watership Down consistently remains the subject of public debate, as epitomised by public outrage in the UK over Channel 5’s decision to broadcast the film on the afternoon of Easter Sunday two years running. Conversely, the film has recently been raised in favourable comparison to the live-action/CG hybrid Peter Rabbit (2018), spurring questions surrounding the role of violence and matters of taste in children’s media. In addition, Watership Down bears timely socio-political relevance: it demonstrates the dangers of human impact upon the environment and the need to overcome totalitarian authority, as represented in the film by the fascistic villain General Woundwort. In an uncertain political climate that includes the rise of neo-Nazism, it seems more appropriate than ever to ask what audiences of adults and children alike can still learn from this landmark of British animation.

In light of the film’s continued relevance, this symposium seeks to explore Watership Down’s ongoing cultural legacy and impact, 40 years since its first release. This may be in relation to the above themes, but this event also intends to broaden the dialogue beyond these headline-grabbing topics and draw attention to more overlooked aspects of the film’s form, aesthetics, and place in British cinema and animation history. Further possible topics include but are not limited to:

* Adaptation (including the film’s relationship with other adaptations of the novel)
* Music and sound
* Stardom and voice performance
* Genre and generic hybridity (e.g. horror, fantasy, the epic, animal stories, children’s cinema)
* Animal studies (especially representations of rabbits in popular/visual culture)
* The relationship between animals, animation and children’s media
* Representations of nature/the countryside
* Eco-critical perspectives
* Allegory
* Gender and sexuality
* Audience and memory studies
* Fan studies
* Meme studies
* Folklore
* Mortality and morality
* Broadcast, classification and censorship
* The work of Martin Rosen (i.e. Plague Dogs)
* Influences upon Watership Down and its influence upon subsequent media

It is the intention that selected papers from the event will be published in the form of an edited book collection.

Please send 300-word abstracts (for 20-minute papers) with a short author biography to Dr Catherine Lester by 30th June 2018.

For further information please contact the above address or refer to the website or Twitter @watershipdown40.

Funded by the Humanities Research Centre, University of Warwick.

Avenging Nature: A Survey of the Role of Nature in Modern and Contemporary Art and Literature

deadline for submissions:
July 1, 2018

full name / name of organization:
Rebeca Gualberto (et al.) // Complutense University of Madrid

contact email:

At the dawn of ‘ecocriticism’ as a discipline of study within the Humanities, Glotfelty and Fromm (1996), in the first general reader in the matter, defined it as the critical practice that examines the relationship between literary and cultural studies and the natural world. In general terms, during the past two decades, ecocriticism has denounced the anthropocentric and instrumental appropriation of nature that has for so long legitimized human exploitation of the nonhuman world. Exposing the logic of domination that articulates the very power relationships that both connect and separate human culture and natural life, recent trends in ecocriticism have raised awareness of the ‘otherisation’ of nature (Huggan and Tiffin, 2015), pointing out the need of assessing insurgent discourses that—converging with counter-discourses of race, gender or class— realize the empowerment of nature from its subaltern position.

But such empowerment of nature first requires that the sundering of human and nonhuman realms is overcome since, as Kate Rigby explains, only by regaining “a sense of the inextricability of nature and culture, physis and techne, earth and artifact—consumption and destruction—would be to move beyond (…) the arrogance of humanism” (2002, p. 152). Yet, recognizing such inextricable relationship between human and natural while overcoming the arrogance of anthropocentrism entails the ecocritical admission that all cultural discourses are in fact exploitative of nature. Rigby states it clearly while explaining, “culture constructs the prism through which we know nature” (p. 154). We comprehend nature when we apprehend the world through language and representation, but nature precedes and exceeds words; it is therefore “real” (1992, p. 32) and separated by an abyss from the symbolic networks of culture that write, master, assign a meaning to and attempt to set nature in order.

From this perspective, culture is not exactly the end of nature as much as it is an appropriation and colonization of nature. Culture masters, dominates and instrumentalizes the natural world. However, in a time when the “end of nature” that Bill McKibben prophesized in 1989 has been certified, when we know for a fact that it is indeed a different Earth we are living in—because by changing the climate there is not a corner of the planet that has not been affected by our actions—the evidence of global ecological endangerment compels the ecocritical debate to install environmental ethics and concerns at the crux of humanistic research. The critical enterprise is far from easy though. The argument that cultural representations of nature establish a relationship of domination and exploitation of human discourse over nonhuman reality is extendible to the critical task. As humanist critics, our regard of nature in literary and artistic representation is instrumental and anthropocentric. But the time has come to avenge nature—or, at least, to critically probe into nature’s ongoing revenge against the exploitation of culture.

Nature—a different, humanly modified nature—will remain after the climate change doomsday. Nature precedes our understanding and its conceptualization. However, despite the unimaginable damage done, it will also survive us when the Earth becomes inhabitable for humans. There will be nature after culture, as there is now a rebellious nature that resists in spite of culture. And thus, we call for articles that explore insubordinate representations of nature in modern and contemporary literature and art. We press for the need to reassess how nature is already, and has been for a while, striking back against human domination. We call for scholars from the fields of literary studies, postcolonial studies, art, history, gender and women’s studies, film and media studies, ethics and philosophy, cultural studies, ethnology and anthropology, and other related disciplines to join us in this interdisciplinary volume that will re-examine the intersections of culture and nature in literary and artistic representations and will point out the insurgence of nature within and outside of culture.

Contributors may wish to explore, among others, the following topics:

 Ecofeminism and gender studies: domination and empowerment
 Postcolonial and transnational representations of nature as (dis)empowered ‘other’
 Econarratives of subversion and rebellion
 Naturalisation of others and otherisation of nature in literature and art
 Literary and artistic representations of ecocides and ecological crisis
 Post-pastoral literature and the redefinition of the poetics of domination
 Social epistemology and ecology
 Environmental ethics applied to cultural studies
 Globalisation and global ecological imperilment
 Eco-social art and literature
 Post-humanism and ecology
 Ecotopias in literature, film and television
 Insurgent nature and the future of humanity
 Gothic nature and eco-horror in dystopic narratives
 Animal Studies and nonhuman sentience

Please submit article proposals for the volume tentatively titled Avenging Nature, a Survey of the Role of Nature in Modern Contemporary Art and Literature by July 1st, 2018. Article proposals should include a title, a 500- word summary, author’s name, institutional affiliation, email address and a short biographical note.

Articles will be selected following a blind peer-review process and authors will be notified by October 1st, 2018. Full articles will be expected by March 1st , 2019. The final book proposal will be submitted for final approval to a top-tier publishing house which has already shown interest in an international launch of our volume.

Please send your submission and queries to

Works Cited

Glotfelty, Cheryl and Fromm, Harold, eds. The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology. Athens, Ga: University of Georgia Press, 1996.

Huggan, Graham and Tiffin, Helen. Postcolonial Ecocriticism: Literature, Animals, Environment. London and New York: Routledge, 2015.

McKibben, Bill. The End of Nature. New York: Random House, 1989, 2006.

Rigby, Kate. “Ecocriticism.” Literary and Cultural Criticism at the TwentyFirst Century. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2012. Pp: 151-178.

Zizek, Slavov. Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991.

CFP: Third Issue of The New Americanist/ Special Feature Section: “Hobgoblins of Fantasy: American Fantasy Fiction in Theory”

Call for Papers

July 31, 2018


Subject Fields:
American History / Studies, World History / Studies, Popular Culture Studies, Literature, Cultural History / Studies

The New Americanist would like to announce a general call for papers for its third issue (Fall 2019). The New Americanist is an interdisciplinary journal publishing scholarly work on the United States and the Americas broadly considered. We are especially interested in work which includes a global perspective, introduces new critical approaches, and proposes theoretical frameworks to the study of the US. We welcome contributions from scholars from around the world and across the humanities and social sciences.

The New Americanist is pleased to announce a call for our first special feature section: “Hobgoblins of Fantasy: American Fantasy Fiction in Theory.”

“Hobgoblins of Fantasy: American Fantasy Fiction in Theory”

Special feature in The New Americanist

In association with the American Studies Center, University of Warsaw

“A frightful hobgoblin stalks through Europe. We are haunted by a ghost, the ghost of Communism.” The Communist Manifesto (1850)

A frightful hobgoblin stalks through genre fiction, too. Fantasy is haunted by that same ghost, the ghost of critical theory. The fantastic, the hobgoblin, and fantasy literature as we know it were “always already” present in the early articulations of critical theory. Fantasy, though, does not merely echo within, or from, Marx and Engels. It presents unique challenges to critical theory, both to readers and to literary critics, not least because of its seeming opposition to realism, materialism, and history itself. That is to say, critical theory’s ostensible rationalism confronts fantasy’s vision of itself as myth. Even the word “myth” carries such different meanings in the theories of Horkheimer and Adorno, Barthes, or Lacan, rather than in fantasy, that the two can barely understand each other. That instability roots fantasy in a “negative capability,” possibly even an antifoundationalist tendency, when it comes to theorizing it. Suvin or Jameson, for example, set it in opposition to science fiction, its twin genre. So while fantasy finds more traction than SF in political allegory or feminist critique, that very capability clashes with the class theory of history, the critique of neoliberalism, that SF ostensibly contains. The result is that fantasy vacillates between Marxist critique, with its determinism and false consciousness, and social commentary, with its direct representation and even accusation.

What are readers to do? Must the hobgoblin be exorcised, or do we find a medium through which to communicate? Is the hobgoblin itself a product of the struggle between fantasy and rationality? As a special feature in the newly-relaunched The New Americanist, and in association with the American Studies Center at the University of Warsaw, “Hobgoblins of Fantasy: American Fantasy Fiction in Theory” seeks articles on critical approaches to American fantasy fiction. The special feature section is open to articles from any critical paradigm and of any period in American fantasy but is particularly interested in readings of fantasy that draw on the conflicts among competing critical methods. This collection reflects debates around definitions, sub-genres (urban fantasy vs. heroic fantasy, or high & low fantasy, etc.), periodization, historicization, gender & sexuality in reading communities, reception theory, and so forth. Portals into the critical fantastic include (but are not limited to) some suggestive tensions:

China Miéville observes in Red Planets that the SF project had begun subtitled “Marxism, Science Fiction, Fantasy.” Whence fantasy and why this trend?

Jameson and Suvin welcome fantasy into history with the departure of magic, or precisely when it ceases to be fantastical. Are other historicizations of fantasy possible?

Urban fantasy has flourished through identity politics (gender, LGBTQ+, “minority” communities), but what of concepts of consolation, inoculation, or cultural appropriation that question foundational works in the sub-genre?

The rise of Afrofuturism in SF suggests a parallel Afrofantastic. What of other communities find voice through (or represented in) fantasy? What voices do Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, and other fantasy communities find in the genre?

Reader response and reception theory in pulp fiction has largely related to romance reading communities—in what ways is fantasy divergent from (or contiguous with) this established critical project?

Other questions might include (but are not limited to):

Is there a “Hard Fantasy,” and is it complicit in the potential toxic masculinity of demands for a Hard SF?

Fanfic studies have concentrated on SF, often in relation to identity and communities of resistance in underground publications, yet S/K echoes very differently in the commercial success of Fifty Shades responding to Twilight. What are the sexual politics of fantasy fanfic? What are its genders and communities?

What are fantasy’s nationalisms? Is there a manifest destiny stalking American fantasy?

Is “Cli-Fi” necessarily a subset of SF’s cognitive estrangements, or is a fantastic confrontation with nature “always already” allegorizing anthropogenic climate change?

Do Animal Studies or human/non-human networks find unique representations or opportunities in fantasy and/or in fantasy audiences?

Do we confront, through Klein, Lacan, Žižek, et al., the “phantasy” in fantasy, linking it to desire, the Other, and radical transformation, or must we also remain discontent with metonymic substitutes as a function of fantasy?

Please submit 1-page abstracts and a short biographical note for proposed articles to James Gifford ( and Orion Kidder ( by 31 July 2018. Selected articles (6,000–8,000 words) will then be due by 31 December 2018 for peer-review. The third issue of The New Americanist will be published in Fall 2019 with “Hobgoblins of Fantasy: American Fantasy Fiction in Theory” as its special feature.

If you are interested in contributing on a different topic, please submit a 350-word abstract and 200-word biographical note by 31 July 2018 to Completed articles of a 6000-8000 word length based on accepted abstracts by 31 December 2018.

The New Americanist comes out twice yearly in association with the American Studies Center, University of Warsaw. Please submit previously unpublished work only. All submissions will be subject to a double-blind peer review.

The New Americanist is always seeking book reviews and commentary. Please contact us if you are interested in contributing.

Contact Info:
The New Americanist

c/o Matthew Chambers

American Studies Center

Al. Niepodleglosci 22

02-653 Warsaw POLAND

Contact Email:


Please submit to Studies in the Fantastic, a journal published by the University of Tampa. July 1 deadline.

full name / name of organization:
Studies in the Fantastic

contact email:,,

Studies in the Fantastic requests submissions for volume 6 of our peer-reviewed academic journal, to be published in winter 2018/19. Essays examining the fantastic from a variety of scholarly perspectives are welcome. For consideration for volume 6, please send submissions to by July 1, 2018.

Submitted articles should conform to the following guidelines:

6,000-12,000 words
MLA-style citations and bibliography
A separate title page with author information to facilitate blind peer review
1” margins, 12 point serif font, page numbers (but no identifying information in page headers)

Studies in the Fantastic is an annual journal publishing refereed essays, informed by scholarly criticism and theory, on both fantastic texts and their social function. Although grounded in literary studies, we are especially interested in articles examining genres and media that have been underrepresented in humanistic scholarship. Subjects may include, but are not limited to, weird fiction, science/speculative fiction, fantasy, video games, science writing, futurism, and technocracy. Electronic access to Studies in the Fantastic is available via Project MUSE.