Call for Papers for special issue of Resilience: Journal of Environmental Humanities on “Environmental Futurity”
Special Issue editors: Cheryl Lousley, Susie O’Brien, Jennifer Wenzel
Since its emergence as a concept in the mid-twentieth century, “the environment” has been bound up with questions about the future. This connection between environment and futurity is evident in the missions of multilateral bodies such as UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program, the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, all of which analyze and predict phenomena that have come to be grouped under the rubric of “global change.” Environmental futures also take shape in the agendas of NGOs and in literary and artistic works.
Yet environmental futurity is contested territory. Sustainability, resilience, the Anthropocene, and buen vivir are but a few frameworks of futurity vying for explanatory power in the present. Claiming the authority to imagine and shape a future involves uneven political struggles that have profound implications for the shape of the present and our understandings of the past.
This special issue of Resilience aims to consider several questions about environmental futurity:
1) Who imagines and occupies environmental futures? What ideas about the future circulate hegemonically, with what effects? What publics and political possibilities are enabled or foreclosed in particular imaginings of environmental futurity? How have various imagined environmental futures accounted for and/or elided shared vulnerability and social inequality—at different spatial scales, and in the intersections of past and present? What alternative futures have been or might be imagined from postcolonial and other marginalized perspectives?
2) What tropes, genres, narratives, images and other representational modes figure environmental futures? What roles do art, literature and other creative forms take in fashioning dominant and/or counter-hegemonic speculations about the future?
3) What is the relationship between discourses of environment and futurity? What are the historical conditions that shape their emergence, and what role do they posit for history? Rob Nixon’s concept of “slow violence” leads us to ask: what temporalities and speeds are implicit in the futurity discourses of capital and culture? To what extent does the futurist bent of environmentalism foreclose consideration of the present? Conversely, we might consider how a prevailing culture of instantaneity, acceleration, and short-termism occludes thinking about the future at all, let alone the uncertain and long scenarios raised by environmental processes such as climate change.
We are seeking essays on these questions of between 4000 and 7000 words, and written for an interdisciplinary audience by clearly showing the stakes of the inquiry: why this kind of analysis? Why these questions? How do they make new ways of thinking available to a range of people in different disciplines?
Please send 300 word abstracts for proposed contributions to this special issue no later than Wednesday, March 18 to Dr. Cheryl Lousley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, contact information, and a proposed title.
If your abstract is selected for inclusion in the issue, completed essays should be in Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition). All artwork should be saved separately in TIFF or JPEG format.
All completed essays will be submitted to Resilience via the online submission form along with a 300-word abstract and the other required information. Be sure to delete your name and all identifying references in your manuscript for blind peer review.
The deadline for essay submission will be August 1, 2015.
Any enquiries about the special issue can be sent to any one of the editors:
Dr. Cheryl Lousley email@example.com
Dr. Susie O’Brien firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Jennifer Wenzel email@example.com