CFP for Special Issue of Journal of Narrative Theory: "Refugee Literatures: Migration, Crisis, and the Humanities"

deadline for submissions: 
September 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory
contact email: 

JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory invites submissions exploring the life and work of refugees as they engage the humanities today. Just as the mid-twentieth century refugee crisis shaped the emergence and development of aesthetic and theoretical movements around World War II, the mass movement of displaced peoples today stems from a convergence of forces concomitantly reshaping art and humanistic thought, from economic globalization to climate change, neoliberalism, neoimperialism, resurgent nationalisms, violence against black, latinx, Muslim, and queer peoples, and the waning securities of sovereignty and citizenship. In light of these crises, refugees and other undocumented peoples have come to appear less an exception to an otherwise stable world order and more like harbingers of things to come –– embodiments of the “new normal” in a world of permanent insecurity. And yet, Edward Said once warned that an impulse to universalize the refugee might lead scholars to ignore the particularities of the refugee’s plight and to “banalize their mutilations.” Alive to Said’s warning and to the need to give voice and critical attention to the lives of the violently displaced, this special issue asks how writings by and about refugees –– past and present, real and imagined –– might intersect with the work of the humanities to engender democratic life in a precarious world.


When refugees speak, how do they tell their stories? What narrative, poetic, rhetorical, and legal forms have they used to give account of their lives? How has the emergence of new forces and dynamics of migration over the last century affected these forms? What are the archives of refugee history and life? How do refugee narratives engage scales of literary study such as national, transnational, world, global, and planetary literature? Where does migration studies fit into the humanities today? What are the advantages and dangers of taking up the refugee as a figure of comparison with other precarious subjects: the poor, students, the indebted, black and queer peoples? What can longer literary histories of migration and exile tell us about the contemporary crises?


Please submit essays of 25-35 pages (no less than 6250 words) and in MLA style (8th edition) to the Special Issue Editors, Hadji Bakara at and Joshua L. Miller at  (Address inquiries to the Special Issue Editors as well). Submission Deadline September 1, 2018.