Revisiting Adventure

deadline for submissions: 
May 31, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Johan Höglund
contact email: 

We hereby invite proposals for papers to be included in a Special Issue on “Revisiting Adventure.”

This special issue observes that the adventure genre/mode has become increasingly central to contemporary popular culture but that scholarship on this this has largely focused on British fiction, often stopping before WWII. This special issue builds upon this rich scholarly tradition, including work by John Cawelti, Edward Said, Martin Green, John MacKenzie, Elaine Showalter, Graham Dawson, and Amy Kaplan. This body of work emphasizes the way in which adventure is one of the oldest narrative forms, but also tightly interwoven with the modern projects of nation building and imperialism, and whose soldier hero protagonist is a repository of an idealized masculinity intimately tied to this myth (G. Dawson).

These observations function as a starting point for a special issue that seeks to expand the historical and theoretical horizon beyond these limits. In particular, the issue will redress the fact that adventure is largely un-theorized as a contemporary narrative and cultural form, one uniquely invested in the representation of violence as pleasure. We are interested in examining adventure in its ideological, aesthetic, performative, and affective aspects, focusing on its cultural work, as theorized for melodrama by scholars like Jane Tompkins and Linda Williams. This issue also encourages the application of new paradigms to the conceptualization of adventure as a form that articulates emotional, aesthetic and ideological effects. Thus, the theoretical and heuristic stakes of terms such as “genre,” “mode” (L. Williams), “form” (C. Levine) and “formula” (J. Cawelti) would be a point of departure, but the main focus of the volume would be on how adventure as a form has changed and adapted to the twenty-first century.

This issue will consider the contribution of new interactive media forms such as computer games and next-generation gaming consoles, it will consider gender positions and forms of sexuality absent from earlier adventure narrative, and it will explore the racial and ethnic dynamics specific to the contemporary global context. Masculinity has always been a key feature of the adventure narrative, and we would like to examine the way the form has reacted to changes in gender politics since feminism (and its backlash and postfeminist variations) reconfigured the cultural landscape. Adventure has also been closely tied to the British cultural and imperial project. We would examine how the form operates in a contemporary global context, with texts produced in the U.S. and exported abroad as well as transnational forms of adventure that adapt its themes and key features to specific cultural contexts.

Essays addressing this theme could include topics such as:

  • Adventure and race
  • Adventure and masculinity
  • Global adventure narratives (e.g. French, Russian war adventure cinema)
  • Transnational adventure narratives (the movement of narratives across nations)
  • Adventure and female heroes (e.g. Buffy, Xena, Lara Croft, Katniss Everdeen)
  • Adventure tropes in war and action film
  • Adventure tropes in recruitment material
  • Adventure in first-person shooters and other games
  • Adventure in relation to men’s magazines
  • Adventure in children’s and young adult television & film
  • Adventure in relation to nationalism
  • Adventure and spectacles of violence
  • Adventure and global reception of US action films
  • Adventure and US empire
  • Adventure and the (post)colonial

Abstracts should be no longer than 350 words and be submitted to Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet and Johan Höglund no later than May 31, 2017. Final papers will be due Dec. 31, 2017.


Agnieszka Soltysik Monnet (Professor of American Literature, University of Lausanne)

Johan Höglund (Associate Professor of English, Linnaeus University)