Fiction in the Age of Risk

full name / name of organization: 
Textual Practice

What does it mean to risk, and how do we benefit, as well as suffer, from its demands? This proposal for a special issue of Textual Practice takes 'risk' as a productive and important condition in contemporary global dynamics. In a world characterised by new modes of screening and surveillance, ecological disasters, and political instability, what does it mean to take, or refuse, risks. 'Taking a risk' implies an act or decision that threatens a given set of conditions by introducing a new set of circumstances into an event horizon.

Framing 'risk' as an indeterminate and composite state allows us to re-evaluate its significance in modern life, along with the interrelated concepts of 'vulnerability' and 'fragility'. By pursuing a special issue of Textual Practice according to this premise, this collection seeks to advance a number of linked fields of research in narrative studies, particularly related to the study of boundaries and migration, ecotexts and ecocriticism, and the formation of rural and urban spaces in local and transnational contexts.

We encourage contributors to critically engage with the concepts at play to offer fresh visions of risk and 'riskiness'—and such related concepts as vulnerability, precarity and fragility—in the contemporary world and the fictions that abound therein. This special issue of Textual Practice calls for papers that address the topic of risk in new and diverse ways. In the flux of social, cultural and political loss, we want to consider the multiple valences of risk in contemporary literature.

Essays might focus on—but are not limited to—one or more of the following topics:

- Risky reading practices ~ reading practices at risk
- Ecological risk
- Risk and vulnerability
- Fragility and narrative
- Risk and fictionality
- Risk and the politics of grief
- Communities and individuals at risk
- Precariousness and the Precariat
- Risk, resilience, and representation
- Risk and visual culture
- Timeliness and risk

Please send abstracts (300-400 words), and brief author bios (250 words), to the guest editors, Tony Hughes-d'Aeth ( and Golnar Nabizadeh ( by 30 July 2015.

Full essays will be due by December 21, 2015.