ASEBL Journal and Blog - Ethical Behavior/Evolutionary Biology - Newly Peer-Reviewed and Calling for Submissions

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ASEBL Journal (St. Francis College, NY)

ASEBL Journal ( is Ethical Behavior-Evolutionary Biology. We are looking for critical essays for the upcoming January 2013 release (and thereafter). ASEBL is an online, peer-reviewed journal. Issues are housed on the St. Francis College website at: Issues appear as PDFs and in ISSUU format. Currently, the journal is published once a year, around January (though supplements appear on the blog as guest-posts and notes, some of which might be published in the journal itself). We can release, as we have, a special issue if needed. ASEBL Journal is slated to be indexed in Humanities Source, a major database of EBSCO Host. This means that if your work is accepted, it will be accessible to a world-wide audience through an (electronic) academic publisher.

If you are interested in submitting an article (broadly on the theme of reader-response, ethical criticism), contact the editor, Professor Gregory F. Tague: If you scan previous issues, you can get a good idea of the editorial scope of the publication. (Issues prior to January 2013 were peer-reviewed only at submitter's request.) Of course there is always leeway, and we value authors who take chances and break boundaries in scholarship. ASEBL Journal is not directed at any highly-specialized audience. The articles, while academic in nature (grounded in scholarship), are written for an audience generally in tune with and sensitive to the notions of ethics and literature.

ASEBL can be Ethical Behavior or Evolutionary Biology. So we are especially interested in writing that, broadly conceived, accommodates any treatment of the convergence among ethics, biology, and literature. That is, personal responsibility, moral identity, social emotions, human nature, consciousness, and conscience from an evolutionary perspective. All of this comes down to the crucible of the biology of morality, studied by primatologists (e.g., Frans de Waal) and evolutionary psychologists (e.g., Leda Cosmides and John Tooby). There are, of course, literary theorists/critics doing work, variously, in this area already (Lisa Zunshine, Kay Young, and Blakey Vermeule to mention only a few).

ASEBL is primarily interested in how moral behavior is depicted (or not) in literary texts, how readers might respond to such depictions, and whether or not there is any evolutionary or adaptive nature to the production of such moral representations.

What makes us believe morality derives from a heavenly cloud or a theoretical Form or an abstract imperative? In great part the evolution of our social emotions is responsible for many of our behavioral codes. How does this play out in literary works? And yet there is something distinctive about human morality not found in other highly-developed primates. How can we re-vitalize the humanities by reading literature with an understanding of ethology? While the genesis of the journal is humanistic, that originating intent does not rule out readings that include science (though it does rule out post-modernist, deconstructive readings).

As our main focus, we continue to welcome ethical readings in a humanistic vein (though that does not include religious ideologies or politically-conservative opinions). However, while the main context of the journal is the study of literature, other disciplines (especially in terms of a bridge to evolutionary science) will be considered, such as philosophy (as well as the other arts, e.g., dance, music, painting, or sculpture). Indeed, we would embrace select articles only on the convergence of morality/biology. Some of this material (depending on length) could be valuable guest-posts on our blog.

Please query before submitting. Submissions are to be in MLA or APA format: brief in-text citations with a works-cited page; endnotes (no footnotes); endnotes need to be set up without using embedded footnoting programs. Documents should not have any headers or footers. If, after a query, the editor asks you to submit an article for consideration, please send a Word attachment that has a cover sheet with your name and contact information; your name should not appear anywhere else in the body of your essay – only on the cover/contact sheet. Articles can range from (approximately) one thousand to five thousand words. Please submit finished work only. Important: please make sure that any correspondence includes ASEBL in the subject line.

We hope to use the blog as a forum for guests to write about the connections (consilience) among philosophy, science, and literature. While blog entries need not be scholarly, there should be some commitment to academic discourse. If interested, go to the blog and see Popular Posts. Please query editor.

To provide some context and grounding, many of the following have done writing in the areas of ethical criticism or areas relating biology (emotions, consciousness, evolutionary psychology, etc.) and morality – (a highly-selective list): Charles Darwin; Maxwell Bennett; Paul Bloom; Wayne C. Booth; Joseph Carroll; Patricia Churchland; Leda Cosmides; Antonio Damasio; Richard Dawkins; Daniel Dennett; Michael Gazzaniga; Joshua Greene; Jonathan Haidt; Peter M.S. Hacker; Marc Hauser; David Hume; Jerome Kagan; Joseph Le Doux; Steven J. Mithen; Martha C. Nussbaum; Steven Pinker; Adam Smith; John Tooby; Frans de Waal; E.O. Wilson; Lisa Zunshine.