Call for Abstracts: Trace Journal, Issue 5

deadline for submissions: 
April 1, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Brandon Murakami / Trace
contact email: 

Trace, a peer-reviewed, open-access, and interdisciplinary journal seeks proposals of 250-300 words for its upcoming issues thematized around AI. Trace considers the material and ethical impacts of media in all forms with specific interest in scholarship that theorizes the confluences of technology, culture, and life. 

This issue invites proposals for articles that analyze and critique the various and sometimes contested representations of Artificial Intelligence (AI). We especially encourage papers that consider non-Western narratives, as well as relatively recent ones from a range of mediums. Topics can include but are not limited to:

  • AI as protagonists and narrators
  • AI in children’s and young adult literature
  • AI and/in video games        
  • AI as content creator and pseudo-creator (ex: artwork, memes)
  • AI in popular culture
  • Digital embodiments and disability
  • Environmental AI
  • Hostile AI, horror narratives, and societal anxieties about AI
  • Postcolonial and decolonial AI
  • Race and representations of AI
  • Representations of AI in film, television, and music 
  • Representations of gender, sexuality, and issues of sexual consent in AI narratives
  • Solarpunk and cyberpunk narratives
  • Subjectivities, personhoods, and rights of AI
  • Visual depictions of AI in comics, graphic novels, and other imagetexts

Interested authors should submit proposals of 250 to 300 words and a 100-word bio to by April 1, 2022. If accepted, final article submissions should be 3,000-6,000 words and should adhere to the most recent MLA citation guidelines. Authors will receive a decision on their abstracts by April 15, 2022, with full drafts expected by July 15, 2022. General questions should also be sent to

In 2017, Ekphrasis: Images, Cinema, Theory, and Media put forth an issue titled “Ghosts in the Cinema Machine”. Edited by Andrei Simuţ and Doru Pop, the articles within explore a variety of contemporary representations of artificial intelligence (AI) across a range of mediums, grappling with not only the transformation of the genre of science fiction but also as Simuţ writes, “what is left of the traditional imagination of science fiction after being surpassed by the evolution of hyperreality/virtual reality and other simulated spaces” (7).

While AI has become more prominent as the emergent technology, promising revolutionary change(s) to a variety of fields and industries, we also acknowledge that interest in AI has long been a part of our history. For instance, Samuel Butler’s satirical 1872 novel, Erewhon, is the first to feature AI while building upon Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and the technological innovations of the Industrial Revolution.

Of more famous representations, AI is a staple within modern science fiction narratives: HAL9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey), The T-800 (Terminator Series), the android hosts of Westworld, and the feisty droids of Star Wars. Most also walk the line between utopias and dystopias, firmly encapsulating our fascination with—or fears of—the endless possibilities of technology, albeit here in the form of artificially intelligent beings of our own making. And while “Ghosts” provides us with an exciting look into representations of AI, much has happened since 2017.

Take, for example, a recent announcement made by the University of Florida on July 21, 2020: a historic $70 million partnership with NVIDIA that “will create an AI-centric data center that houses the most powerful university-owned supercomputer in the nation.” Or consider the topic of the National Humanities Center’s 2021 conference, “In Our Image”. Focused on the ways in which AI has “infiltrated our daily lives,” the diverse offering of presentations from “leading humanists, scientists, engineers, artists, writers, and software company executives” addresses the myriad ways thinkers, professionals, and even the average citizen might tackle the “key emerging questions.”

Trace is interested in cutting-edge research and shaping the narrative of AI representations, particularly representations from beyond typical Western framework. We also highly encourage works that push beyond the immediate response to AI (post/human dilemma, ethics, inherent programming biases, and technological inequities, etc.) to more wholly critique our fascination and long-standing relationship with the artificially intelligent.