Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities
The recent upsurge in research on the political, social and aesthetic life of water no doubt owes its impetus to maritime, climate change, Anthropocene and feminist studies (Steinberg and Peters, Neimanis, deLoughrey, Blum, Chen and others). Critics have looked into the environmental, (post)colonial, geographic, political and cultural significance and use of water across some very specific contexts (e.g. the Arctic, the Indian Ocean, film, literature, capitalism, water management, urban spaces, maritime crossings), engaging both its reality and representation. The former has been addressed by, among others, Hawkins et al., Anand, Neimanis and Helmreich. The latter has drawn critics such as Yates, Anidjar, Cohen, Mentz, Neimanis and Protevi, to name just a few. Philosophical discourses, on the other hand, have drawn on what water resists, enables and connotes and the values thus generated: its mobile and liquid and life-giving nature. Gaston Bachelard probes into the imaginary textures of matter via literary representations of water. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari have resorted to the physical properties of water to theorize what they call the smooth space. Michel Serres focuses on the acoustic life of the sea to talk about noise as the other of order and regulation. For (Freud’s) psychoanalysis, the oceanic is “the unconscious of the unconscious” (Rooney). A very recent special issue of ELN inaugurates hydro-criticism, a term which marks novel interventions in the field of maritime studies and beyond.
This special issue aims to further expand the existing research on the material, political and affective states of water as well as to enable novel waves and ways of thinking with and through water. Moving beyond the somewhat over-researched concepts of fluidityand flows, we aim to shift critical inquiry towards perspectives that balance between the scientific, the social, the (bio-)political and the cultural. We particularly welcome theorizations that foreground water’s material constitution (with its singular physico-chemical properties) as well as its relational potential, such as its interactions with substances, forces, bodies and shapes, as well as with itself. We are particularly interested in (the consequences of):
- water’s ability to wet, humidify, evaporate, permeate, fill, soften, harden, congeal, shape and take shape, erode, bond, solve, suspend, buoy, transport, transfer, conduct, refract, diffract, circulate, crystalize, form waves, currents and whirlpools;
- its haptic, acoustic, olfactory and other sensory qualities;
- its states of intensity, temperature, pressure, resistance, speed, viscosity, volume, density, tension;
- its forms of movement: leaking, dripping, trickling, sprinkling, draining, soaking, oozing, streaming, ebbing, (over)flowing, pouring, jetting, rushing, turbulating;
Possible questions include:
- How does political and aesthetic thinking derive its valences from water and the various textures and consistencies it embodies and engenders?
- How does water’s (queer) materiality shape state and economic rationalities and affectivities?
- How can water be employed to rethink territory, security, mobility, control, embodiment, desire, sensation, sensuality, bonding, the human, the nonhuman, the social, and more?
- How can water be, or is, used to subvert and/or collude with power?
- How does water’s singularity relate to bio- and necropolitics?
- What (geo)politics does water have?
- What does water store? (heat, energy, nutrients, toxins, memory, history, life, death, waste, ideas, etc.)
- What are water’s erotic, queer and feminist valences?
- How can thinking with and through water help us re-think some of the most urgent questions of the day (such as refugees, migrations, erosion of the commons, extinction of species, unprecedented concentration of wealth, control)
- How can water technologies be imagined beyond industrial use, resource management and civic engineering?
- How is water used as a weapon and to what effects? (weaponization of water in protest and pacification and elsewhere)
We invite proposals which engage with any of the above issues and theorise water in novel ways. Please submit an abstract of 400-500 words by 1 January, 2021 to the following guest editors:
Tomek Sikora: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ewa Macura-Nnamdi: email@example.com
The issue is scheduled for the first quarter of 2023.
Submission of abstracts: 1 January 2021
Notification of acceptance: 15 February 2021
Submission of full texts: November, 2021
Anand, Nikhil. Hydraulic City: Water and the Infrastructures of Citizenship in Mumbai. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2017.
Anidjar, Gil. Blood: A Critique of Christianity. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014.
Bachelard, Gaston. Water and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Matter. Dallas: The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, 1983.
Chen Cecilia, Janine Macleod and Astrida Neimanis (eds.). Thinking with Water. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013.
Chen, Mel Y. Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2012.
Deleuze, Gilles and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005.
Hawkins, Gay, Emily Potter and Kane Race. Plastic Water: The Social and Material Life of Bottled Water. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2015.
Helmreich, Stefan. Alien Ocean: Anthropological Voyages in Microbial Seas. Berkley: University of California Press, 2009.
Hydro-criticism. Laura Winkiel (ed.). Special issue of English Language Notes. Vol. 57, no. 1, 2019.
Mentz, Steve. “Seep.” Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Lowell Duckert (eds.). Veer Ecology: A Companion for Environmental Thinking. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017.
Neimanis, Astrida. Bodies of Water: Posthuman Feminist Phenomenology. London: Bloomsbury, 2017.
Protevi, John. “Water.” rhizomes: cultural studies in emerging knowledges. Issue 15, Winter, 2007.
Pugliese, Joseph. “Bodies of Water.” Heat: literary international. Vol. 12, 2006, 12-20.
Rooney, Caroline. “What is the Oceanic?” Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities. 12:2, 2007, 19-32.
Serres, Michel. Genesis. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1995.
Steinberg, Philip and Kimberley Peters. “Wet Ontologies, Fluid Spaces: Giving Depth to Volume Through Oceanic Thinking.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 33:2, 2015, 247-264.
Yates, Julian. “Wet?” Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Lowell Duckert (eds.). Elemental Ecocriticism: Thinking with Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015.