Fragile Futures - A Special Issue of English Academy Review - Submissions due 30 April 2014

full name / name of organization: 
English Academy Review: Southern African Journal of English Studies


A Special Issue (31.2) of The English Academy Review (Routledge/Unisa)
Guest editor, Marc Botha (Durham University)

The characteristic fragility of human existence has always been marked by a deep ambivalence regarding the future. On the one hand, ceaseless crisis and catastrophe appear to justify a pervasive pessimism, while on the other, it is difficult not to marvel at the seemingly boundless human capacity for novelty, invention and change. Literature, in particular, has the unique capacity simultaneously to exemplify and critically examine the fragile co-existence of utopian and dystopian visions of the future. Indeed, the literary imagination has the ability to negotiate the multiple valences of the past, the contingencies of the present and alternate visions of the future.

The English Academy Review proposes to investigate the relation between literature, fragility, and the future in a special issue on Fragile Futures. We invite essays of up to 6000 words (excluding reference material) which interrogate how literature, criticism and theory have or might be able to clarify historical fragilities and to confront the fragility of the future, to interrogate the ambiguous; to offer forms of regional or global resistance to crisis or catastrophe while offering a sustained critique of crisis politics; to foster resilience and hope with respect to the fragile future with which we are all confronted, without eliminating fragile entities or negating the potentiality which inhabit the links between fragility, contingency, value and beauty.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:
Ecocriticism and the fragile relationships between human and natural systems;
Literature and crisis;
Precarity and the literature of the precariat;
Utopian and dystopian literature as the expression of, or confrontation with, a fragile future;
Science fiction, allohistoricism and alternate literary paradigms of fragile futures;
Vulnerable populations, groups, ideas and their literature in relation to the future;
Electronic literature, the world wide web and the fragility of new media;
Literature as a means of fostering resilience and hope in the face of a fragile future;
Literature and contingency.

Submissions should reach The English Academy Review by 30 APRIL 2014 and should be submitted electronically as a Word document to both of the following email addresses: and

Manuscripts should be prepared according to the Chicago Manual of Style author-date system.