MFS Special Issue - Inter-imperiality

deadline for submissions: 
June 1, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Modern Fiction Studies
contact email: 

The editors of MFS seek essays that engage with the concept of inter-imperiality, as developed in the recent PMLA “Theories and Methodologies” cluster (March 2015) and elsewhere. The global turn in literary and cultural studies, although productive, sometimes elides the post/colonial, economic, and other historical or geopolitical conditions of literary-cultural production. We solicit essays that offset this tendency by reading literary-cultural texts within an inter-imperial framework.

The “inter” of inter-imperial studies refers both to the charged relations of plural empires and to the fraught positions of persons and polities existing precariously among them. It furthermore invites attention to the accretion of successive imperial legacies in a single locale, such as Central Asia, South America, or Korea, where earlier colonizations underlie European and Anglo American incursions. In literary-cultural studies, an inter-imperial analysis considers how genres, artists, movements, and texts have navigated within a horizon of empires, across multiple languages, periods, or imperially linked economies.

A focus on inter-imperiality thus recasts the dialectics of imperialist capitalism and anti-imperial struggle, exploring how literature and arts have long mediated these multivectored conditions. In the early twentieth century, V. I. Lenin deemed imperial rivalry a late stage of capitalism while John Hobson claimed in his 1903 study that the “new imperialism” was distinguished by the presence of “competing empires.” Recent world historiography has since amended their insights through study of jockeying empires in earlier periods, and economic historians have shown that interacting empires generated capitalist or protocapitalist economies. These studies lay ground for new forms of postcolonial and geopolitical analysis in literary-cultural studies.

We are interested in scholarship on a range of world regions and languages in the long twentieth century. (If warranted, we may include a URL to an unpublished foreign-language version of an essay.) We welcome discussions of performative, visual, and material forms and of other genres alongside fiction, with attention to earlier inter-imperial histories if contributors so choose. Essays are expected to engage with recent inter-imperial studies (such as those in PMLA and Globalizations), yet might also link these to complementary methods, for instance decolonial or postcolonial, indigenous, diasporic, queer, materialist, Marxist, geomodernist, planetary, and feminist-intersectional.

Essays should be 7,000-8,500 words, including all quotations and bibliographic references, and should follow the MLA Style Manual (7th edition) for internal citation and Works Cited. Please submit your essay via the online submission form at the following web address: https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/mfs

Queries should be directed to Laura Doyle (ldoyle@english.umass.edu).