CRITICAL INSECT STUDIES AND THE LONG EIGHTEENTH CENTURY (1660-1830)

deadline for submissions: 
December 1, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Beth Fowkes Tobin and Beth Kowaleski Wallace
contact email: 

We are seeking abstracts for an interdisciplinary collection of critical essays exploring insects in the long eighteenth century. 

First, we are especially interested in work that explores the place of insects in eighteenth-century life: while we acknowledge the destructive capacity of insects, we also aim to consider how insect activity may have been crucial to human purposes, perhaps in invisible or unrecognized ways. Second, if indeed insects have always been useful to human thinking, how were they deployed in various forms of eighteenth-century literature and philosophy? Third, how were insects represented visually and to what degree were modes of picturing insects entangled with insects as collectable objects, specimens, and commodities? Fourth, our collection will engage with the history of science, acknowledging and exploring important (if at times problematic) processes of insect classification and taxonomy that occurred largely during the second half of the eighteenth century. 

Our ultimate goal is to rethink human kinship with tiny terrestrial creatures, both in the eighteenth-century and now. Thus, we especially welcome work that showcases new materialist approaches, as well as other methodologies rooted in the environmental humanities. We seek in the process to find a way to knit together humanistic and scientific perception into a unified understanding of the agentic capacity of all materiality. 

We especially welcome essays that address non-European texts and insect/human entanglements as well as essays from a range of disciplines, including art history, literary studies, the history of science, environmental history, and museum studies. Contact us if you have any questions about the collection at: btobin@uga.edu and kowalesk@bc.edu

Please submit proposals (no more than 500 words) and a brief cv by December 1, 2019.  Final essays should run about 6,000-8,000 words in length and are due by August 1, 2020.