Kinship in the Fiction of N. K. Jemisin: Relations of Power and Resistance

deadline for submissions: 
March 1, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Berit Åström, Umeå University
contact email: 

Dr Jenny Bonnevier, Örebro University, Sweden and Associate Professor Berit Åström, Umeå University, Sweden invite original essays for a contributed volume on kinship in the fiction of N.K. Jemisin. Lexington Books have expressed a provisional interest in publishing the volume.

N.K. Jemisin’s unprecedented win of three consecutive Hugo awards, one for each part of her Broken Earth trilogy, has brought her to the center of the field of the fantastic and earned her the attention of readers, fans and critics. Critical attention, however, is still just beginning to do justice to the richness of Jemisin’s textual universes. It has mainly focused on her work in the context of Afrofuturism, the Anthropocene, and as concerning issues of race, disability, and gender, recognizing Jemisin’s important contribution to re-imagining the future as a place characterized by diversity. While acknowledging the importance of these concerns to Jemisin’s fiction, this anthology takes as its starting point the conviction that not only are there other central concerns that merit exploration, but that our understanding of the role of Jemisin’s fiction in Afrofuturism and its struggle with the hope of a future (and a hopeful one at that) is made richer, more complex and more rewarding if we recognize and pay critical attention to the role of kinship relations in her work. Mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, grandparents – the relationships these terms evoke form complex nurturing as well as destructive webs of meaning in Jemisin’s textual worlds. Webs of kinship, families, sometimes function as centers of resistance and sometimes as means of oppression. At times, they are both simultaneously.

The editors intend the anthology to be part of a tradition of critical kinship studies, which understands kinship as a contingent and situated phenomenon, and to draw on the traditions of feminist, lgbtqia and afrofuturist scholarship in studies of the fantastic. We thus invite contributions that engage with kinship relations in the fiction of N.K. Jemisin in ways that are in line with this aim. In particular, contributions should pay special attention to questions of power and resistance and the ways in which family relations construct and/or are constructed through and within such fields of tension or conflict. Contributions that put Jemisin’s work in larger literary, cultural, or theoretical contexts are welcome, including readings of her text in conversation with other texts or traditions.

The chapters should be c. 7 000 words, including endnotes and bibliography.

Abstracts of 250-350 words and a short CV or brief biographical note should be sent to jenny.bonnevier@oru.se and berit.astrom@umu.se by March 1, 2021. Notification of acceptance will be given no later than March 15, 2021.

Final manuscripts should be submitted by November 1, 2021.