Limitrophy in Contemporary Literatures in English
Call for Papers for Volume 27 (2023)
The editors of EJES are issuing calls for papers for the three issues of the journal to be published in 2023. EJES operates in a two-stage review process. The first stage is based on the submission of detailed proposals (up to 1,000 words) and results in invitations to submit full essays from which a final selection is then made. The deadline for essay proposals for this volume is 30 November 2021, with delivery of completed essays in the spring of 2022, and publication in Volume 27 (2023).
EJES operates a two-stage review process.
- Contributors are invited to submit proposals for essays on the topic in question by 30 November 2021.
- Following review of the proposals by the editorial board panel, informed by external specialists as appropriate, the guest editors will invite the authors of short-listed proposals to submit full-length essays for review with a spring 2022 deadline.
- The full-length essays undergo a second round of review, and a final selection for publication is made. Selected essays are revised and then resubmitted to the guest editors in late 2022 for publication in 2023.
Limitrophy in Contemporary Literatures in English
Contemporary writing appears receptive to the contradictory nature of border phenomena and to the hybridity and heterogeneity of topographical, cultural and ideological intersections. Jacques Derrida’s concept of limitrophy offers a significant theoretical tool for the analysis of such phenomena by addressing “what sprouts or grows at the limit or around the limit, but also what feeds the limit, generates it, raises it, and complicates it” (2008, 29-30). The focus of attention on limits that Derrida’s perspective invites to consider is, then, twofold: it queries how limits are generated and asks what is generated by such limits. Limitrophy points to a multiplicity of interacting phenomena and levels, including topographical, symbolic, temporal, epistemological and textual borders (Rosello and Wolfe 2017). Limitrophy focuses, in sum, on the generation of limits both as subjective and objective genitive.
Contemporary discussions of limits, borders and demarcations extend to reflections on the nature of human subjects and their relationships to the world, to non-human animals and to machines and artefacts. These explorations eventually lead to a questioning of the dominant paradigm of natural law by posing the question of whether “human” as a category still refers to a Kantian community of reasonable beings (Wolfe 2010). Clear-cut boundaries between the given and the constructed, nature and culture are currently being replaced by “a non-dualistic understanding of nature–culture interaction” which aims to overcome the boundaries firmly established by anthropocentrism (Braidotti 2010), and which also includes new formulations of gender. In 1986, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari insisted on the need to deterritorialize the boundaries of the human by “becoming animal” and to participate in a “continuum of intensities” which would enable the crossing of thresholds (13) as well as to rethink our relationship with other animals across disciplinary boundaries (Turner 2013, 2). Contemporary attention to limitrophy comprises an attempt to step away from traditional species hierarchies through a close examination of human and non-human relationships and the impact of what Giorgio Agamben has termed the “anthropological machine” (2004, 37).
Discussions of the nature of limits also extend to the human artefacts that populate our world and whose presence has radically altered landscapes to meet human needs. Such artefacts have both functional and cultural uses, but they also show their potential to reveal “distinctive features of the human mind” (Margolis and Laurence 2007, ix). In so doing, they raise questions as to whether these artefacts are completely mind-dependent, in such a way that clear-cut limits between the human and artificial world may eventually become blurred, more so if transhuman uses of artificial intelligence and biotechnology are brought into consideration.
Critical attention to limitrophies mirrors a global anxiety to reflect on the ideological possibilities of their duality, both as sites of conflict and of transformation. In view of these considerations, we invite submissions which examine how and to what extent “limits” (in all the possible meanings and connotations of the word) are porous and fluid. We are interested in contributions that explore not only how such limits are questioned or overcome, but also erected and reinforced in contemporary narratives in English. The nature, form and genre(s) of these narratives may reflect the unstable, porous and fluid nature of previously fixed categories and borders. Proposals may address, yet are not restricted to, the following questions:
- Human-animal limits
- Human-artefact limits
- Gendered and sexual limits in 21st-century literature
Detailed proposals (up to 1,000 words) for full essays (7,500 words), as well as a short biography (max. 100 words) should be sent to the editors by 30 November 2021:
Roberto Del Valle Alcalá (Södertörn University, Sweden) firstname.lastname@example.org
Agamben, Giorgio. 2004. The Open: Man and Animal, translated by Kevin Atell. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Braidotti, Rosi. 2010. The Posthuman. London: Polity Press.
Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. 1986. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature, translated by Dana Polan. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Derrida, Jacques. 2008. The Animal that Therefore I Am, translated by David Wills. New York: Fordham University Press.
Margolis, Eric and Stephen Laurence (eds.). 2007. Creations of the Mind: Theories of Artifacts and Their Representation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rosello, Mireille and Stephen F. Wolfe. 2017. “Introduction.” In Border Aesthetics: Concepts and Intersections, edited by Johan Schimanski and Stephen F. Wolfe. 1–4. New York and Oxford: Berghahn.
Turner, Lynn (ed). 2013. The Animal Question in Deconstruction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Wolfe, Cary. 2010. What is Posthumanism? Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.