Call for Contributions
Edited Collection: Shelter in Text
This is a call for scholarly articles and longform creative essays for an edited collection entitled Shelter in Text, which interrogates the relationship between the physical and textual spaces we inhabit. We invite work that probes the relationship between literature and shelter–interpreted as a noun or verb, as material or metaphor, from the micro (domestic) to the macro (planetary). Against the horizon of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also looking beyond it, this collection examines the now familiar idea of “shelter in place” by investigating the relationship between shelter and narrative. In the midst of the climate crisis, with rising inaccessibility to housing and hospitable environments, enduring the rhythms and inequalities of the global health crisis, and saddled with the threat of future droughts, floods and pandemics, we face new considerations about our future habitation. This collection explores how writers envision the idea of shelter at this crucial juncture.
We are animated by the following questions: How does the physical infrastructure of the city interact with literary form (Caroline Levine; Sarah Wasserman) and how do stories bring attention to the built environment as a “persuasive phenomenon” (Darryl Hattenhauer)? What are the ways in which we find we are sheltered—or unsheltered—by narrative in the context of the housing emergency, encampments, mass dislocation, and other late Capitalist crises of domesticity (Lauren Berlant; Susan Fraiman)? How do both cities and texts encode abstractions of power, and racial and gender inequality (Elizabeth Grosz; Dolores Hayden; Kate Marshall; Saidiya Hartman; Renee Gladman)? How do differently “housed” bodies, to borrow Sara Ahmed’s formulation, narrate the “resistant” world in various ways? How has the experience of lockdown challenged or (re)shaped our interiorities, imaginations and reading habits? How has immersion within the home or within a vastly altered public sphere, changed the way we think of plot and genre? How do Indigenous and decolonial approaches to land and storytelling allow us, in the words of Daniel Heath Justice, to “imagine otherwise”? (Where) do texts find shelter from the looming dangers of environmental devastation, species collapse, and other threats to the natural world; and how could a practice of shelter-making through narrative teach us to relate to our environment in ways that enable a more sustainable future (Rob Nixon; Kathryn Yusoff)?
Possible areas of exploration might include:
- Cities; urban infrastructure and architecture; differently abled, raced, gendered bodies navigating space; housing (in)security
- Dystopia; pandemic; sharing space; surveillance and policing of space
- Domesticity; domestic violence and (textual) escape; Gothic and other hauntings
- Indigenous approaches to land and space; the relationship between storytelling and land; decolonial textual approaches
- Ecocriticism; ecopoetics; planetary shelter; and other land-based approaches to writing
Please send abstracts of no more than 400 words plus a short bio statement to Myra Bloom email@example.com and Kasia Van Schaik firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 November 2022. The provisional timeline is for authors to submit their essays (8000-10 000 words) or creative works (2000-5000 words) by 1 September 2023. We welcome proposals from scholars of any background and career level. For any queries, or to discuss your ideas before submitting, please feel free to contact the editors.
About the editors:
Myra Bloom is Associate Professor of English at Glendon College, York University, specializing in Canadian Literature. She has published in academic journals including Canadian Literature, Quebec Studies, and English Studies in Canada, where she recently edited a special double issue on “Autofiction in the Age of the Selfie.” She also frequently contributes to popular magazines such as The Walrus and The Literary Review of Canada. With support from a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, she is currently completing a monograph, Evasive Maneuvers: Women’s Confessional Writing in Canada, as well as an accompanying podcast.
Kasia Van Schaik is an FRQSC Postdoctoral fellow at Concordia University’s Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture, Technology, where she is researching new ways to attend to our landscapes and ecologies through environmental storytelling, feminist artmaking, and collaborative knowledge production. She is the author of the story collection We Have Never Lived on Earth, forthcoming with the University of Alberta Press, and has published essays and fiction in the LA Review of Books, The Rumpus, Maisonneuve, This Magazine, English Studies in Canada, Electric Literature, Senses of Cinema, and other publications. She is currently at work on a book of cultural criticism entitled Women Among Monuments: Solitude, Permission and the Pursuit of Female Genius. In 2021 Kasia served as a CBC QWF writer-in-residence.
Categories: Non ACCUTE CFPs