Emergency Literature, Emergency Aesthetics

deadline for submissions: 
February 15, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Kairos: A Journal of Critical Symposium

Editorial Special Issue of Kairos: A Journal of Critical Symposium Vol 6, No 1


Have we been anesthetized by the sense of emergency that surrounds us, or become decapacitated by what Pankaj Mishra has called the ‘age of anger’? Growing technologization, economic fundamentalism and our hubristic self-certainty have occasioned the ‘demise of our Being’, leading to an eclipse of ‘emergency consciousness’ (Santiago Zabala). Widened global resurgence of populism, economic Darwinism, contagious illness, planetary precarity, disenfranchisement of indigenous populations, human exodus and killings – all these emergencies, are said to have failed to elicit adequate responses from us both politically and aesthetically. Our bitter material and ontological struggles substantiate how Heideggers concept of Notlosigkeit or absence of the sense of emergency leads to what Rabindranath Tagore, Carl Schmitt, Arundhati Roy or Giorgio Agamben have variedly problematized as subtle forms of sovereign takeover. How do we situate literature and cultural ontologies within this climate of coercive silence and docility? Can the art world or literature act as an Ereignis – an ‘event of Being’ that unleashes generative possibilities, instilling in us the required sense of emergency and critique to act? Genres and categories like resistance literature; petro-fiction, decolonial writing, Dalit and Black aesthetics, minor literature, zoopoetics, etc., have always been at the forefront of weaponizing our artistic and aesthetic senses against the brutality of necropolitical regimes. This special issue of Kairosinvites contributions that widen the existing conceptual frames, and offer fresh insights on emergency literature and aesthetics. Possible sub-themes include:

  • Literature as emergency or crisis-text
  • Ecologies of alter-aesthetics
  • Global emergencies and new genres
  • Literature and disaster capitalism
  • Imagining the sixth extinction
  • Contagion, death and cultures of resistance
  • New media, violence and emergency literacy

We invite original paper proposals (350 words) by 15 February, 2021, based on which full papers (due 15 August 2021) of 5,500-7,000 words will be invited. Please send your submissions to editorskairos@gmail.com