Estranged Realities - The Harbour Journal's First Issue
The supernatural and its literary traditions is, according to H.P. Lovecraft, “[a] breathless
and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces” (13). The strangeness of the
supernatural perturbates comforting and rationalized conceptions of what we understand
as being ‘real.’ As readers of literature, the unexplained is a key feature of the analytic
process, where estrangement is inherently acknowledged and attempts to decipher are
strived for in the critical encounter. Mark Fisher suggests that the weird “involves a
sensation of wrongness: a weird entity should not exist, or at least it should not exist
here” (15). Thus, the melding of real, human situations with strangeness creates social
and cultural misconstructions, as well as “undermines an entire system of rational
knowledge-making, problem-solving, and worlding […]” (Doane, 13). Unusual or
unexplainable human psychological or physical afflictions were—and still are—often
wrongly associated with weird or strange occurrences. Still, for Mark Fisher, terms such
as ‘weird’ and ‘eerie’ allow us to reconcile our “fascination for the outside, for that which
lies beyond standard perception, cognition and experience”, with how estranged “modes
of fiction, modes of perception [and] modes of being” are interpreted (6).
This issue of The Harbour Journal aims to question how representations of estranged
realities inform or deform our relationship to the real. The submitted articles must
question, in one way or the other, the place that the estranged, the weird, the eerie, and/or
the uncanny occupy in a variety of cultural imaginaries and artistic productions. Articles
are welcome to challenge the very notions of reality, estrangement and weirdness in their
ontological or epistemological expressions. This issue will ask questions such as: What
processes of reality production does estranged realities redistribute? What affects are at
play when a reader is confronted to the uncanny? What is the role of ghosts, vampires,
and other ‘estranged’ beings in literature and how, as beings, do they contribute to our
understanding of existence? What are the ethical problems associated with the condition
of both a perceived strangeness and an estrangement from others? What does it mean to
be ‘estranged’ from one’s own reality? How is the act of reading or the critical impulse
itself an exercise in (overcoming) estrangement?
We invite academics from around the world to submit articles in English that interrogate
the notions of marginality, estrangement, and the weird from various disciplinary
perspectives. Articles can consider a multitude of topics, ranging from estrangement,
monstrosity, readings of madness narratives, processes of othering, specific historical
periods and genres such as the Gothic or Southern Gothic, horror fiction, disembodied
poetics, fictional depictions of the supernatural, spectrality, etc. Submissions can come
from a wide range of disciplines: supernatural studies; pop culture studies; speculative
fiction; sci-fi; fantasy; realism, surrealism; poetics; historical perspectives; disability
studies; feminist studies; indigenous studies; non-canonical genres (graphic novels,
fanfiction, etc.); queer studies; literary and cultural theory; hauntology; digital
humanities; film and visual arts; as well as other disciplines relevant to the
We are asking those interested to submit 2500 to 4000 words articles by May 15, 2020.
Please submit your application by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, with your
name and the word Submission as object. For any queries, please feel free to email the
organization committee at email@example.com or visit our website at https://udemegss.wordpress.com/the-harbour-2/ for more information.
Please use this google form to submit your paper: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/17MH1T12TcpFEBDl_12eWMmiK0fmxQ-vGbuNHV9zQUJA/edit
Doane, Bethany. “Introduction.” Modern Language Studies, vol. 49, no. 2, 2020, pp. 12-
Fisher, Mark. The Weird and the Eerie. Repeater Books, 2016.
Lovecraft, H.P. "Introduction," Supernatural Horror in Literature. Edited by E. F.
Bleiler. Dover Publications. 1973.