Special Issue "Entangled Narratives: History, Gender and the Gothic"

deadline for submissions: 
April 30, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Gina Wisker (University of Brighton) and Anya Heise-von der Lippe (Universität Tübingen)

The Gothic is a "negative aesthetic" (Botting 2014, 1). It influences a plethora of cultural phenomena from literature and other media to fashion and music. It is also an ever-shifting framework of creative expressions and critical approaches, which has a tendency to reinvent itself and adapt to new cultural circumstances. The Gothic troubles the familiar, replaces complacency with dis-ease, offering rich opportunities for new explorations and expressions of seeming fixities, interpretations of history, certainties of gendered identity. Gothic texts across various cultural and medial platforms are interested in exploring the depths and undersides usually avoided and repressed by mainstream culture, and, consequently offer ample possibilities to problematize concepts of normality and inevitability (among them gender binaries and dominant historical narratives) while providing a platform for writers and ideas from various cultural contexts and margins.

As a literary mode emerging in the late eighteenth century the Gothic has its roots in the period's nostalgic exploration of a glorified historical past. Early examples envisioned an imaginary medieval culture full of secret ancestral guilt and illicit desires while multi-layered Gothic narratives created a space for the exploration of non-binary or non-normative constructions of gender and sexuality.

As a popular form of literary production, occasionally frowned upon from more elevated cultural positions, the Gothic has also offered a home to writers from the margins, and provided a space for formal and aesthetic experiments, which have found expression in a number of hybrid and structurally innovative forms, such as, for example, historical novels, Steampunk graphic novels, Gothic film and television series, games, music and fashion, but also in a complex and historically rooted critical discussion.

For this special issue of Humanities, we invite proposals for essays which reframe the Gothic and its connections to gender and history, initially by problematizing these terms. These could be discussions of either individual texts (including film and other media) or comparisons of a range of texts across time, across space, to identify common themes or structural similarities.

We particularly welcome critical readings of recent texts which use the Gothic to subvert, reframe or undermine traditional figurations of "gender" and "history", as well as explorations of intersectional narratives that arise out of explorations of gender, history and, for instance, race, sexual orientation, disability, or non-normative forms of embodiment that could shed new lights on the critical discussion of the Gothic.

We are interested both in essays which focus on reinventions and contestations in the contemporary period, and those which link and engage with texts across historical periods, and /or cultural contexts. (‘Text’ refers to fiction, poetry, film, graphic novels, game etc.).

Essays could explore, but are not limited to the following questions and issues:

  • How do recent texts use the Gothic to subvert, reframe or undermine traditional figurations of "gender" and "history"?
  • How do Gothic texts problematize notions of history and or gender in specific historical and or cultural moments and /or contexts?
  • How does the Gothic reinvent itself and its concerns and adapt to new cultural circumstances, contexts and issues?
  • How do Gothic texts offer explorations of intersectional narratives that arise out of explorations of gender, history and, for instance, race, sexual orientation, disability, or non-normative forms of embodiment that could shed new lights on the critical discussion of the Gothic.
  • How do Gothic narratives create a space for the exploration of non-binary or non-normative constructions of gender and sexuality?
  • How do Gothic texts deal with nostalgia, historical guilt, hauntings of the past in the present?
  • How do Gothic narratives and texts offer opportunities for expression from hidden places, perspectives, from the margins (gender, culture, history) which fundamentally question established norms and offer new views, new readings?

Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words accompanied by a short bibliography of primary and critical texts to both Gina Wisker and Anya Heise-von der Lippe at g.wisker@brighton.ac.uk and anya.heise-von-der-lippe@uni-tuebingen.de by 30 April 2018. Finished articles of around 6000 words will be due by 30 November 2018.

 

More information on the journal and the special issue can be found on the journal's website: http://www.mdpi.com/journal/humanities/special_issues/gothic.