CFP: New Sonic Approaches in Literary Studies – Special Issue of ESC (Deadline: 15 November 2021)

New Sonic Approaches in Literary Studies
(English Studies in Canada, Guest Editors Jason Camlot and Katherine McLeod)

This special issue of ESC invites papers that pursue sound-focused studies of literary works, events and performances, and that explore connections between the fields of literary studies and sound studies.

The past 20+ years have yielded a rich field of critical work that explores the relationship between literature and sound, both on and off the page, going back to the edited collections of Adelaide Morris (Sound States, 1997) and Charles Bernstein (Close Listening, 1998), to the special issue of ESC edited by Louis Cabri and Peter Quartermain (On Discreteness: Event and Sound in Poetry, 33.4 2007), up to recent studies by Katherine Robson (Heartbeats: Everyday Life and the Memorized Poem 2012), Raphael Allison (Bodies on the Line, 2014), Matthew Rubery (The Untold Story of the Talking Book, 2016), Jennifer Stoever (The Sonic Color Line, 2016), Jason Camlot (Phonopoetics, 2019), among many others. This body of criticism has explored how sound, hearing and listening have been represented in literary works of different periods, and, increasingly, has focused on the cultural significance of literary representation, production and performance when it is manifest as sound in events and documentary recordings of literary performances, readings, storytelling, sound poetry, and literary sound art.

Following their organization of the successful SpokenWeb symposium “Listening, Sound, Agency” (18-23 May 2021), which was designed to explore intersections between methodologies used in literary studies and sound studies, the editors of this special issue are now seeking to gather new work that builds upon and departs from earlier critical approaches to the study of literary representations of sound and the sonic qualities of literary works.

The editors seek contributions of 5000-6000 words that will explore one or more fundamental questions about sound, voice, media, and performance as related to literary history, form, poetics, production and/or reception. Examples of such questions include:

  • What does literary history sound like?
  • What does it mean to listen in literary contexts?
  • What is the ontological status of a literary work in sound?
  • How does the sonic literary archive speak to or challenge the print canon?
  • How does the sonic literary archive suggest alternate literary histories?
  • How does the sonic literary archive reveal previously marginalized literary voices and communities?
  • What critical and practical methods are useful for approaching literary history through the study of events, and/or archives of recorded sound?
  • What can the interdisciplinary methods of sound studies bring to the study of literature as it is found in books, manuscripts, and audible archives?
  • What can literary and sound practitioners, and literary and sound theorists learn from each other?
  • How does teaching literature with or through sound alter literary pedagogy?

Papers may pursue answers to such questions (or others along these lines) in the form of scholarly articles, theoretical forays, wide-sweeping historical accounts, detailed case studies, or other critical forms that seem most suitable to the author’s critical purpose.

In summary, this special issue aims to frame, through theoretical and practical scholarly contributions, the development of a new and transformative convergence of literary and sound studies. The editors are excited to learn about your work, and to work with you in developing it further should it be a good fit for this special issue of ESC, New Sonic Approaches in Literary Studies.

Please submit an abstract (250-500 words) and a bio (50 words, along with a short CV) by 15 NOVEMBER 2021 to Jason Camlot ( and Katherine McLeod (

Upon first acceptance by the editors, full articles will be due 15 APRIL 2022, though completed articles are welcome to be submitted earlier. Articles will then undergo external peer review prior to final acceptance and publication as part of the special issue.  

Categories: Non ACCUTE CFPs

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