Lesbian Aesthetics: Living Queer Lives With Ali Smith

deadline for submissions: 
August 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Jaime Harker; Turner Nat Byrd; The Journal of Lesbian Studies
contact email: 

“Lesbian Aesthetics: Living Queer Lives With Ali Smith”


Proposals are due August 15, 2022; the Full manuscripts due December 15, 2022.



Jaime Harker, 

Director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi; jlharker@olemiss.edu

Turner Nat Byrd, University of Mississippi; tbyrd1@go.olemiss.edu


Ali Smith is an anomaly in the contemporary publishing scene: an experimental writer

popular enough to be interviewed by the prime minister of Scotland; a lesbian writer lauded as

a universal genius and “Nobel laureate-in-waiting”; a political writer whose ruminations on art,

aesthetics, belonging, and memory transcend the current political moment while speaking

directly to it. Currently, Ali Smith is enjoying a critical moment with the success of her Brexit tetralogy; Transatlantic Studies in British and North American Culture dedicated a volume to her writing in 2019, and in May 2022, post45 published a cluster of essays on Ali Smith. 

Nevertheless, with the attention to Ali Smith, a strange, sometimes explicit, de-queering

of Ali Smith’s life and art occurs. In this special issue we aim to analyze Ali Smith investments in queer genealogies, queer aesthetics, and lesbian and queer lives. 


We welcome a wide range of critical responses to the entirety of Smith’s oeuvre, including but not limited to:


Art and Aesthetic Genealogies

○ the lesbian and queer women’s art, from photography to painting to writing,

that influence her own work and inform her plots;

○ the Queer experimental genealogies that inform her work;

○ the historical excavations of queer history;

○ Smith’s place in a larger tradition of feminist and queer aesthetics;

○ her rereadings of canonical works, including Shakespeare and Dickens, in

contemporary queer narratives;


Socio/Political Commentaries

○ The attention to class, nationhood, and politics in her work;

○ Smith’s queering of postmodernism and apocalyptic literature;

○ Lesbian/Queer revolutionaries/radicals in her fiction;


Pop-literature in the Queer/Lesbian life

○ Ali Smith fandom/readers;

○ Smith’s literary stardom in the U.K.;

○ The American and world reception of Ali Smith;

○ The de-queering of Ali Smith in contemporary book reviewing.


Lesbian and Queer representation in Smith’s fictions

○ her explorations of loss, grief, renewal and recuperation;

○ her explorations of the multiplicity of love, sex, desire, and gender;

○ Adolescent lesbian existence within Smith’s narratives;

○ Spectrality and hauntings within queer life and spaces represented in Smith’s



We welcome essays from any disciplinary perspective. Please send your 500-word abstracts and a brief c.v., to Jaime Harker jlharker@olemiss.edu and Turner Nat Byrd tbyrd1@go.olemiss.edu

by August 15, 2022; full essays are due December 15, 2022.