On gases, clouds, fogs and mists

deadline for submissions: 
June 13, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
COOLABAH Online journal of the Australian and Transnational Studies Centre at the University of Barcelona
contact email: 


Online journal of the Australian and Transnational Studies Centre at the University of Barcelona


Special issue edited by Benjamin K. Hodges (University of Macau)


Atmospheres are always all around us; but they are also routinely overlooked and ignored. When they become visible, are felt or otherwise noticed they can be experienced as an unusual interruption. Whether a storm cloud or a roadside flare, they mark a change. We also know from Gothic literature and horror films that fogs and mists roll in and change the mood of a scene turning innocent bucolic landscapes into sinister reminders of dangers, real or imagined, that may be lurking in the dark. Unseen invisible gases can impact us too, making spaces unpleasant and even uninhabitable.

In this special edition of Coolabah, authors are invited to propose articles and creative work on the theme of atmospheres. New writing and research on atmospheres has brought about what has been called an “atmospheric turn” (Griffero 2019). What unites this recent research across the sciences, cultural studies and comparative literature is a concern with the particular qualities of atmospheres and how they have historically been interpreted, controlled and experienced across cultures and communities. The significance of atmospheres as a global phenomenon is also increasingly understood as having very real impacts on climate change, with whole communities and multispecies relationships impacted. From pollution to sea level change, the risks of climate change are global but their impact is disproportionately felt by disadvantaged communities from the precarity of island communities to the poor air quality of urban centers, atmospheres foretell looming threats.

Of course, it is not all just doom and gloom. Atmospheres are also full of the particulate that makes neon glow and nightclubs create otherworldly spaces. They create moods and affects, aesthetic experiences to be desired, bought and sold. Atmospheres are the stuff of fairy dust, Sci-Fi special effects and divine halation. They can be seen at a distance causing optical effects like mirages and we can also find ourselves right in the middle of them like humidity stuck to the skin. Architectures define atmospheres. Tourists seek atmospheres.

For all these diverse forms of atmospheres the focus of this collection is to look for ways in which cultural understandings and misunderstandings of atmospheres might offer new ways of thinking about a complicated now and near future. Folklore, popular culture and speculative fiction can provide new ways of understanding the atmospheres around us and what impact we have on them as well as they have on us. 


Topics might include (but not be limited to):

  • cultural histories of dangerous gases (chemical, viral or radioactive)
  • digital representations of gases (e.g. visual effects, gaming and virtual reality)
  • ghostly atmospheres in literature and folklore
  • aesthetic approaches to atmospheres (clouds in painting and poetry)
  • marketing of atmospheres (dark tourism, ‘seedy’ cities)
  • trade histories (aromatics, incense)
  • speculative fiction about atmospheres
  • cloud cities in film and literature
  • scientific histories of monitoring, controlling and measuring atmospheres
  • architecture and atmospheres



Griffero, Tonino. 2019. “Is There Such a Thing as an “Atmospheric Turn”? Instead of an Introduction” in Atmosphere and Aesthetics A Plural Perspective. Palgrave Mcmillian.


Deadline for full papers and creative submissions: 13 June 2022


Coolabah accepts academic articles (up to 6,000 words), creative fiction and non-fiction (from 3,000–6,000 words), creative work with artist statements (up to 500 words) and poetry (any length).

This journal welcomes the submission of creative work providing that the matter of the creative work concerns exploration of the themes of this journal/edition.

Papers and queries can be sent to “Benjamin Kidder Hodges” bhodges@um.edu.mo and "Claire Rosslyn Wilson" clairerosslynwilson@gmail.com

Coolabah Webpage: http://revistes.ub.edu/index.php/coolabah/index 

Author guidelines: