ARISTEIA: The Journal of Myth, Literature, and Culture Special Issue on Myth, Deep Time, Extinction, Survival

deadline for submissions: 
September 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Michael T. Williamson / Indiana University of Pennsylvania
contact email: 

Call for Papers for ARISTEIA: The Journal of Myth, Literature, and Culture

Myth, Deep Time, Extinction, Survival

ARISTEIA: The Journal of Myth, Literature, and Culture returns after a twenty-year hiatus. This peer-reviewed print journal is now published under the auspices of the Dessy-Roffman Myth Collaborative at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. For our first issue, we invite scholarly essays of 5,000-7,000 words, poems of any length (including epic poems), and short stories of no more than 4,000 words. This issue’s theme encourages contributors to explore the relationship between Myth, “Deep Time” (geological time, metaphysical time, cosmological time, etc.), Extinction, and Survival.

 Please send preliminary abstracts of 500 words by February 1, 2022 or completed essays, poems or stories to Dr. Michael Williamson ( and Allen Shull ( by September 15, 2022.


Myth can give us hope, existential strength, and the courage to face adversity. It can bring people and communities together. Weaving together (aspirational and/or inspiring) tales from our various mythological traditions, we can sustain ourselves in times of plenty and in times of scarcity. Myth attests to disasters as well as creations, and it beckons us, often uncertainly, towards forms of transcendence and plenitude that challenge our conceptions of what it means to be human.  Recent studies on geology, literature, and culture, for instance, reinforce the role that mythological thinking plays in shaping our expectations regarding catastrophe and continuity. David Sepkoski’s recent examination of how geological thinking affects culture, Catastrophic Thinking, for example, explores “the recognition that extinction is a ubiquitous, even commonplace phenomenon represents a profound shift in scientific and cultural awareness of the tenuousness of life and the balance of nature that has taken place over the past two hundred years” (17). Embracing and enriching diversity may seem to be a solution, but “but we also struggle with what diversity is and what it means” (16). As one of the most primary cultural artifacts of the human imagination, myth activates ideas about time, extinction, and diversity. How do we regard the death of plants and animals in catastrophic climate change, and how do we react to extinctions in the past, even the deep past? How do we deal with social extinctions, whether language death, erosion of the middle class and social mobility, or loss of traditional cultures and folkways? Do we mourn losses or celebrate amalgamations?  Our editorial board encourages scholarly research and creative writing that engages with these questions.

Subjects to Consider:

  1. Literary and cultural conception of extinction of species, family, language
  2. Literary and cultural conception of diversity in species and in cultures
  3. Literary and cultural conception of feuds, aristocratic extinction, or changing ways of life
  4. The literary and cultural conception of future extinctions and diversifications
  5. Literary genres and artistic branches as sites for extinction and diversification
  6. Language preservation, evolution, convergence, death, preservation, revival, reconstruction, and artificial construction
  7. Literary and cultural conception of catastrophe: loss, rescue, abandonment, and exile
  8. Literary and cultural conception of cross-temporal connections: immortality, time travel, preservation, rediscovery

Scholarly essays on all periods of literary and cultural history are welcome, but this issue especially welcomes works related to Mythology and Science Fiction, Mysticism, and literature and cultural objects from historical times of stress such as the plagues, revolutions, and natural disasters. Poems and short stories should address the theme of this cfp in a clear way.

Please direct inquiries to Dr. Michael T. Williamson ( and Allen Shull ( For more information on the Dessy-Roffman Myth Collaborative visit