CFP: [Medieval] Darwin and Literary Study

full name / name of organization: 
Jonathan Greenberg
contact email: 
greenbergj@mail.montclair.edu

Darwin and Literary Study.
A Special Issue of Twentieth Century Literature (TCL)
Guest Editor: Jonathan Greenberg, Montclair State University

>From its inception, Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has
provided a powerful spur to writers and artists, informing works ranging
from H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine just before the turn of the 20th
century to Spike Jonze’s film Adaptation just after the turn of the 21st.
Darwin’s thought has had an equally powerful impact on the social
sciences, spawning the discourses of Social Darwinism and eugenics as well
as the more recent fields of evolutionary psychology and sociobiology.
Because of the sometimes reactionary political force of such discourses,
however, literary studies have been relatively slow to engage with
Darwin’s thought. This special issue is an attempt to catalyze such an
engagement: first, because Darwin remains understudied as an intellectual
precursor of current-day literary theory, and second, because his current
popularity, and his ongoing volatility as a political signifier, are
themselves highly charged cultural phenomena. This issue therefore seeks
to go beyond existing evolutionary-psychology/cognitive-science models in
order to consider a full range of the ways in which 20th-century
literature, film, theory and culture have engaged with the writings and
ideas of Darwin and his followers.

Topics might include, but need not be limited to: the literary
representation of evolution; evolution in science fiction; Darwin in
popular culture; Darwin and biopolitics; Darwin in relation to Freud,
Marx, Nietzsche, or American Pragmatism; the politics of evolutionary
biology; the politics of evolutionary psychology; Darwin in social
thought; animal studies and the creaturely; evolution and the posthuman;
theories of cultural evolution; evolution and representations of sex,
gender, and race; Darwin and modernism; evolutionary biology in
the “science wars” or the “two cultures” debate; questions of teleology;
Darwin as anti-essentialist; Darwin and the idea of chance; non-Darwinian
ideas of evolution; Darwin and ecocriticism.

Please send essays and inquiries to Jonathan Greenberg
<greenbergj_at_mail.montclair.edu>. Deadline fo submissions is 31 October
2008.

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Received on Mon Mar 10 2008 - 14:27:10 EST

cfp categories: 
medieval