Militant Ecotopias

deadline for submissions: 
June 1, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Re-visiones Journal

Call for Papers Re-visiones Journal nº 13 (2023)

Monographic Issue:

Militant Ecotopias

Issue editors: Julia Ramírez-Blanco y Emilio Santiago Muiño   

Deadline for the receipt of original papers: June 1, 2023

Length: 5.500 words maximum, without counting bibliography or footnotes. Strict. 


More information

Marwa Arsanios, Who is Afraid of Ideology, 2016-2020, courtesy of the artist



Call for Papers Re-visiones nº 13 (2023)


In recent times, the predominant discourses – and even the general sensitivity to climate change and the ecological crisis – have shifted from denialism to catastrophism. We have gone from rejecting the seriousness of the problem – reducing it to a challenge of technical innovation, a matter of R+D+I – to writing off an ecologically and climatically habitable tomorrow. This amounts to another form of cancelling the future, in the face of which we can only adapt and try to minimize the damage.

Although our ecosocial situation is critical and admits only urgent and radical treatment, affirming the inevitability of collapse can lead to blocking the path of imagination and transformative action. This ideological mechanism operates in much the same way as the profession of faith in the emergence of miraculous technologies. Despite their many differences, these two collective feelings – the illusion that advances in geoengineering or carbon-capture machines will be sufficient to address the ecosystemic crisis, and the resignation of those who believe that our civilization has crossed an ecological point of no return and we have only to learn to die in the Anthropocene – have one thing in common. Both leave out the imperative of political transformation, as well as the necessary changes in cultural and social relations. This contributes to the generation of demobilizing effects that feed the inertia of our society as it heads towards disastrous scenarios.

The growing pessimism that permeates the cultural industry, in which dystopia is becoming an omnipresent narrative, must be problematized. And although its success is better understood as a symptom of a general cultural malaise rather than as the blueprint of a conspiratorial agenda, it cannot be denied that the obsession with depicting and telling us about the end of the world has a very marked ideological effect: it depoliticizes the ecological crisis and consolidates the idea that there is no alternative. The Apocalyptic trend and the justification of terraforming Mars are two sides of the same coin: escape routes that have assumed, as a dogma, that in the face of the ecological crisis, our socioeconomic order and its power structures must remain intact.

We know, in the face of all this, that history never proposes a single path. And that there are many possible alternatives. Exposing them, thinking about them, and feeling them, seem to be the necessary prerequisites for action. This would mean cultivating a militant optimism or a strategic utopianism. Without positing utopia as an ultimate goal or as a static state of affairs, this issue of Re-visions seeks to open up the horizon of the possible and to gather exercises of radical social imagination that outline sustainable and desirable societies.

Lisa Garforth has recently highlighted how today's "green utopianism is often expressed in images rather than words." By focusing on the imaginary, on the visual and – in a broad sense – artistic dimension, we intend to contribute to a necessary libidinal transition. This implies that we can and want to change our ideals of what constitutes a good life, and to think about happiness in contexts of degrowth. Concepts such as "communal luxury" (Ross) or "frugal abundance" (Latouche) speak to us of communal, social, affective, cultural exuberances that can replace the energy waste and compulsive production and consumption of the neoliberal world.

The greening of the world is already a political battle for a mode of production different from that of capitalist productivism, which will be accompanied by a different cultural, visual, aesthetic, and poetic regime. Culture is not a side-effect of economics and sociology but rather a sphere with a certain autonomy that intersects with and constitutes social life in mutual interdependence, so its expressions not only reflect the features of the world that is being born but also help to create it. That is why thinking and desiring along the lines of an ecological utopia is an essential political task. As Ernst Bloch said, it is necessary to first trust in the best in order to then achieve it. For this, we need to give shape to the best so that it can guide the struggles to come.  

The utopias we invoke are feminist, anti-racist, pluriversal, and they consider human and non-human subjects from the point of view of vulnerability and interdependence, including old age, functional diversity, and health breakdowns. Here utopia is seen as something processual (Levitas), as an everyday practice that in its imperfection nevertheless aspires to be an education of desire (Bloch), and which is posed critically (Moylan). In utopian studies, utopia has long been understood as an impulse that takes shape in very different ways: Lyman Targent Sargent has already spoken of the three faces of utopia, as represented in literature, utopian social theory, and utopian practice developed by groups and individuals in very different directions.

On the one hand, this issue of Re-visions proposes a genealogical review, searching for a tradition of ecological utopias in history, even before Ernst Callenbach coined the term "ecotopia" in his novel of the same name in 1979. On the other hand, we seek to update this tradition and to question the present intensely. In this sense, we are especially interested in the experiences of rebellion and practices from social or grassroots movements. The utopia to which we appeal is also in the multiple heres and nows.

The journal seeks to compile, in a critical way, different ecotopian imaginaries. From the axes of race, class, and gender, we are especially interested in contributions referring to ecological utopias in the following senses:
-historical experiences of ecotopian communities.
-utopian dimensions of environmentalist movements.
-ecotopic visual and artistic culture.
-ecotopias of the how: processes of change, social transformations, utopian pragmatism from present conditions.
-visionary imaginations and ecofeminist practices.
-ecotopia and anti-speciesism.
-elements of ecological utopian prefiguration in popular cultures, and mass culture.
-ecotopia and science fiction.
anti-racist ecotopias.
-utopian projections of scientific-technological innovations.
-analysis of the ambivalences and contradictions of ecotopian projects.
-manifestos, proposals, projects and working papers.

In addition to academic papers and visual essays, artistic, activist or grassroots proposals are welcome.

In the face of neoliberal dystopia, militant ecotopias!