CFP: The Ruptured Commons – Special Issue of Studies in Canadian Literature (Deadline: 31 December 2022)

The Ruptured Commons: Call for Papers

Article submissions are invited for consideration for a special issue of SCL/ÉLC on the theme of The Ruptured Commons. Revised and expanded papers from the ACLALS triennial conference on the theme are welcome, as are papers written independently of the conference that engage with Canadian or Indigenous literatures. Essays should be submitted by 31 December 2022; the issue will be co-edited by John Clement Ball and Asma Sayed and will be published in 2024.

At a time when we have all been experiencing profound and unexpected disruptions to our shared spaces, routines, economies, societies, and work-lives, these publications will consider the nature and implications of rupture, the commons, and their conjoining: the ruptured commons. And while a disruptive disease has been at the forefront through the pandemic, imperialism and colonialism historically were, and in many places remain, forms of severe rupture – to lifeways, cultures, and forms of inhabitation, community, and governance. Capitalism is inherently disruptive, and disruptive technologies (from the printing press to social media, the steam engine to the drone) transform lives and present their own opportunities and threats. Rupture is increasingly becoming a modus operandi among political actors, whether they seek to exploit and accentuate divisions, or, in the case of anti-colonial movements and Black Lives Matter protests, to contest hierarchies, privileges, and prejudices embedded in social attitudes and institutional practice. The increasingly frequent eruptions of such moments raise important questions about social consensus around common realities and common truths.

With each new climate-change study we become more aware of the ways our common environment has seen its natural states and processes violated by human activity. The ruptured commons is at the heart of the concept of the Anthropocene and what Amitav Ghosh has called “the great derangement” of our unsustainable ways. The pandemic, with its multiple and far-reaching disruptions, has forced us to rethink our common spaces and how we use them, from city streets to airplanes, domestic spaces to workplaces – including academic ones.

So much of our shared future is uncertain. As an attempt to reimagine the commons, we invite contributors to place notions of rupture and commons in a wide variety of pan-historical contexts and scales from the local to the global. Approaches and topics within literary and cultural studies could include but are not limited to:

  • Archives and the institutional praxis of collecting, documenting, and remembering the past
  • Borders and boundaries: disrupted, shored up; transgressed, (re-)imposed
  • Disruptive histories and aftermaths of imperialism and colonialism, including trans-Atlantic slavery and the legacies of anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism
  • Ecological and ecocritical approaches to the literary and cultural representation of the commons and of its inhabitants, non-human and human
  • Finding commonalities, understanding differences
  • Healing ruptures and reconciliation
  • Inclusive vs. exclusive models of the commons: access, control, ownership
  • Indigenous knowledges and perspectives: on ruptured places and times; on the commons
  • Literature and contagion, health, medicine, and/or dis-ease
  • Literature and disaster: natural or otherwise
  • Literature of protest and activism: disrupting the present to transform the future
  • Mending and reclaiming the commons
  • New perspectives on risk and the risk society
  • Queer, Indigenous, and Afro- Futurities
  • Reparative work and feminist ethics of care toward alternate futures
  • Representation and inhabitation of common spaces
  • Resource extraction and the ruptured commons
  • Rupture as a mode of literary representation
  • Ruptures of community, culture, economy, family, language or identity
  • Rupturing heteropatriarchal, settler colonial, and racist spaces
  • Spaces and places in times of rupture: private and public, physical and virtual; urban, rural and wild
  • Technology and/as rupture

Essays should be between 6000 and 8000 words. Submissions should be sent electronically via Word attachment by 31 December to and c.c.’d to .

For more information, contact one of the co-editors: John Clement Ball, University of New Brunswick,, or Asma Sayed, Kwantlen Polytechnic University,

Categories: Non ACCUTE CFPs

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