Vol. 26, No. 1

Oceania In Theory

Focus Editors: Maebh Long, Sudesh Mishra, and Matthew Hayward

This special issue explores contemporary Oceania, moving between Western and Pacific ontologies and epistemologies. From the political to the literary, how can we theorize Oceanian modernity, ensuring that we reflect and engage without imposing Western models or privileging Western experiences? What is at stake in the myriad names, often imposed by colonial power structures, that mark the region? How do we formalize the modernity of independence movements, which were often bound by distinctly antimodern rhetoric? If we take modernism to denote a creative response to and exploration of the material conditions of modernity, then is Oceanic literature and creative arts a modernism? How can the archipelagic modernity of Oceania reconfigure our understandings of the modern, modernity and modernism in the rest of the world? And how, particularly in this time of anthropogenic climate change, can modern Pasifika traditions serve as a guide for modernity at large?

Deadline for submissions: closed.

See information on submissions.

Vol. 26, No. 2

Blue Humanities

Focus Editors: Ian Buchanan and Celina Jeffery

Although the ocean covers seventy percent of the planet and provides more than half of the oxygen vital to all life on earth it figures comparatively little in global cultural production. We tend to treat the ocean as that which must be traversed rather than explored for itself — we lay beside it at the beach, we cruise on its surface, or more usually fly several thousand feet above it, but we don’t enter it (except for brief dives), and we certainly don’t dwell in it. Yet the ocean going, particularly of cargo from China to the US, underpins globalization, so much so it has been described as the ”missing context” of postmodernity And from an environmental point of view, the ocean is a repository for plastic pollution, waste and effluence and is rapidly dying as global temperatures rise. There is a certain kind of politics of invisibility at work here — we do not comprehend complex eco-systems of oceans or the interdependence of the seas, earth and atmosphere. Much less, do we acknowledge the effects of the depletion, erasure and expulsion of biological life from much of the world’s oceans. The ocean is, as Allan Sekula acknowledged, the ”forgotten space” — in which the twin fissures of oceanic degradation and social injustice are colliding. The Anthropocene of the ocean is characterized by a particular kind of violence characterized by the melting of the Arctic ocean, the mass bleaching of coral, industrial extractions of aquatic life and the warming of the seas. The cascading effects of these factors and their impact upon the Earth’s life support system have yet to be understood — but the appearance of dead zones in numerous areas of the world’s oceans are a shocking sign of its literal death. There is a growing body of work known as the ”blue humanities” which is historicizing the ocean and making it part of contemporary consciousness in a way — one hopes —that will help environmental activism’s bid to ”save” the ocean. Yet, what defines the ”blue humanities”? How does it leverage transdisciplinary inquiry and why do we need the blue humanities now?

Deadline for submissions: 1 August 2018.

See information on submissions.

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