Reconstruction 12.3, "(In)Securities"

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Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture
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reconstruction.submissions@gmail.com

Call for Abstracts: Reconstruction 12.3 “(In)Securities”

Edited by Susana Araújo (University of Lisbon) and Susana S. Martins (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven)

In the past years, the world has been dealing with increasing anxieties about state and urban
security, which were largely exacerbated after traumatic experiences such as the 9/11 terrorist
attacks of New York and Washington D.C. in 2001, the 2004 train attacks in Madrid and the London bombings in 2005.

Although it has been widely acknowledged how these events generated political agendas deeply
concerned with strong security policies and measures, other important consequences have
nonetheless emerged.. Amongst contemporary cultural landscapes, questions of security and urban space have been pertinently and diversely addressed by musicians, writers, graphic novelists, film-makers and visual artists. Such responses have been intriguing enough to engage scholars in a vibrant debate concerning whether or not a new artistic and literary genre was created – that of disaster in a post-9/11 world.

Keeping in mind such fascinating panorama of artistic repercussions, the theme issue “(In)Securities” aims to examine the way recent anxieties about security have shaped current representations of the city and urban spaces not only in the United Sates but also in Europe. Since the “war on terror” was launched, a rising number of novelists and visual artists has focused their work on urban settings, conveying generalized hesitations towards questions of security: on the one hand, many of these works depict a growing uneasiness regarding social and private security; on the other hand, they also disclose an increasing awareness concerning social and political construction of security discourses and practices.

The (In)Securities issue will constitute a critical and theoretical arena where these representations will be more thoroughly tackled, with a particular emphasis granted to the way terror and security narratives have been differently conveyed. Pursuing this goal, we will be welcoming contributions dealing provocatively and in an interdisciplinary fashion with literary and artistic cases, and our aim here is twofold.

First, investigations are expected to consider the impact of the media in such literary and artistic productions. If the mediatized spectacularization of such events may constitute no novelty in a world already used to the power of images in the construction and representation of geopolitical positions, the way such spectacularization has been absorbed and transmuted into different art forms has not been properly assessed yet. In this sense, we are primarily interested in examining the ways in which images, messages and metaphors circulate between media, to be later reworked by contemporary writers and artists through sophisticated intermedial and intertextual strategies that highlight the possible relations between fictions and (in)security.

A second aspect to be taken into account relates to the fact that urban security and surveillance issues tend to also be present in the cultural production of countries that did not suffer any terrorist offense. The incorporation of these devastating events and of security discomfort in city representations is barely a US phenomenon. In this sense, we will be open to encourage and accept articles dealing with these urban (in)securities from a transatlantic perspective. The recycling of media images into art and fiction works has proven a highly effective
mechanism in European circles. Such a transatlantic approach will enable us to examine issues of (in)security beyond national borders, and to understand if European novelists and artists are
reprocessing US images, if they are creating specific portraits of (in)securities drawing from their
national realities or if, in any way, their work is ultimately reflecting Europe’s geopolitical context.

Since our aim is to tackle such broad cultural phenomena, we encourage contributions committed, but not limited, to a wide range of methodological frameworks, from cultural and visual studies to literature and comparative studies, in the broadest sense of the terms.

Please send 500-600 word abstracts to Susana Araújo (s.i.a.araujo_at_ goolemail.com) and Susana S. Martins (susanamsmartins_at_gmail.com) by Nov 15, 2011.

Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture (ISSN: 1547-4348) is an innovative online cultural studies journal dedicated to fostering an intellectual community composed of scholars and their audience, granting them all the ability to share thoughts and opinions on the most important and influential work in contemporary interdisciplinary studies. Reconstruction publishes three themed issues and one open issue per year. Send open submissions (year round) to reconstruction.submissions@gmail.com and submissions for themed issues to the appropriate editors listed on the site at www.reconstruction.eserver.org Reconstruction also accepts proposal for special issue editors and topics. Reconstruction is indexed in the MLA International Bibliography.

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