American, British and Canadian Studies 34
Special Issue: Literature and the City, June 2020
Over the past two decades, “the spatial turn” theorized by Edward Soja in his 2000 study Postmetropolis: Critical Studies on Cities and Regions has piqued the interest of scholars in urban, sociological, anthropological and architectural studies. Lying at the crossroads of various disciplines, cityscape has been considered in close relationship with society and history, a triad meant to reshape the history of space and to reconceptualise concepts like lieu, landscape, geography, region, location, habitat, etc. Sociologist Henri Lefebvre’s analysis of the perceived, conceived and lived space (1974) and Michel Foucault’s study on heterotopias (1986) are just two examples that undermine the traditional opposition empirical/ mental space. Such a culturally-valued space has been the arena of conflicting attitudes towards social, cultural, national, ethnic and gender identity, transforming the city into the locus where urban performance unfolds itself at its best.
Playing a crucial role in the forging of cultural identity, literary representations of the city may be viewed as “archi-texts” which appropriate empirical topographies with the purpose of projecting and transforming them into utopian, eutopian or dystopian images of urban lived experience, imaginary (home)lands and communities, pastoral or sublime landscapes of the mind, phantasmagoric visions, national myths, archetypal spaces, symbolic cities, sites of memory, individual and collective self-reflexivity, secluded, anonymous, alienated or invisible spaces, sexual idealizations of the self, colonial and postcolonial geographies, highly technologized cities of the future or posthuman cityscapes.
This special issue aims to address topics related to how the city has been perceived, represented and imagined in literature, to the manner in which literary representations of the city have been shaped by various social, cultural, economic, historical and political contexts and, last but not least, to how literary texts reflect and influence our perception of cityspace.
Key themes may include, but are not limited to:
- the ‘Spatial Turn’: urban revolutions over time and their reflection in literature;
- the city as a space of performance;
- the city as a space of contestation;
- the relationship between the city and its socio-cultural materiality (churches, schools, university, parks, monuments, clubs, pubs, the mass-media, etc.);
- the city as text/ palimpsest; the semiotics of the city;
- myth-making and the city;
- flânerie or the practice of walking in the city;
- the countryside-town-city relationship;
- affections and the city (stations and airports as spaces of emotional good-byes; emotional intimacy and the destruction/recreation of the city);
- national/ transnational/ global accounts of the city.
Articles will be subject to a blind peer reviewing process and must not be under consideration for any other publications. Please refer to the author submission guidelines on the American, British and Canadian Studies Journal website, http://abcjournal.eu. Complete manuscripts, of up to a maximum of 8500 words including bibliography, are requested by 15 February 2020 for publication in June 2020. Please include a biographical note of up to 150 words, accompanied by an abstract (200 words) and a list of 7-10 key words/ concept. Enquiries and submissions are to be directed to Dr. Dragoş Ivana, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Bucharest, firstname.lastname@example.org and copied to email@example.com. Authors will be notified within six weeks of the closing date.
Guidelines for contributors are available here: https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/abcsj/abcsj-overview.xml?tab_body=overview