CFP: Queer Environs - A Special Issue of Diacritics
Special Issue of Diacritics
Edited by Austin Lillywhite and Nicole Seymour
Call for Proposals
Both noun and verb, “environ” points to what’s “out there,” one’s milieu or surrounding world, the assemblage of human and more-than-human beings in which one finds oneself situated, as well as the activity of encircling an area to enclose, circumnavigate, or occupy it. So too, “queer,” as noun and verb, derives its original meaning from space, referring to something that is oblique, slanted, or off-center.
Taking the spatial dimensions at stake in the queer and the environmental seriously, this special issue asks: How might the notion of the queer environ trouble ideas of gender and sexuality as originating inside an individual’s subjectivity, rather than in the space beyond one’s skin? What would it mean to consider sex environmentally, as a spatial style of being, rather than determined by what’s under one’s clothes? What are the possibilities—and limitations—of analogizing human transness, nonbinariness and genderfluidity to examples drawn from the environment? And how might we challenge the notion, contained in the etymology of the word environ, of a colonizing subject settled at the center of its surroundings?
While the term queer ecologies first appeared over two decades ago, in the work of scholars such as Greta Gaard and Catriona Sandilands, this special issue takes its point of departure from the new directions that have appeared in the field: historical analyses of the environmental logics of race and sexuality “before” the subject (Greta LaFleur); Indigenous eco-erotics that expand erotic relations beyond sexual acts and across species lines (Melissa K. Nelson, Kim TallBear); the under-examined racial, sexual dimensions of posthumanism (Zakiyyah Iman Jackson); the queer, more-than-human relationships that inspire Black diasporic forms of sociality (Andil Gosine, Joshua Bennett); the vegetal turn in critical theory (Michael Marder, Joela Jacobs, Natania Meeker and Antónia Szabari); and trans river ecologies (Cleo Wölfle Hazard), to name just a few. So too, queer ecology has taken on a life of its own beyond the academy, from the art collective Institute of Queer Ecology, to social media accounts that foreground intersections between trans, nonbinary, genderfluid, Indigenous, Black, Asian, Latinx, and/or disability studies. What is it about the present moment—from rapidly accelerating climate change, to rising authoritarianism, to the global depredations of capital, to the erosions of gendered and reproductive rights—that is producing a new urgency in turning to queer ecologies for alternatives to the status quo, more than two decades after the term’s initial coining?
This special issue invites contributions that use the term environs, conceived in an expansive sense, in order to both build on and revise the key categories that defined queer ecology at its outset: (1) investigations into the sexuality of nature, (2) intersections between the biopolitics of queerness and of the environment, and (3) environmental affects, ethics, and desires. In particular, the special issue seeks papers that employ global, decolonial methodologies in order to critique aspects of white bias within queer ecologies scholarship. It is more pressing than ever to understand the ways in which global racial capitalism and settler colonial logics simultaneously underpin both environmental destruction and gender oppression. As editors, our hope is to use the term environs, broadly construed, to open new conversations across queer, trans, decolonial, critical race, and environmental studies. By foregrounding the term environ in particular, we hope to shift emphasis less toward questions of wilderness, and more toward the politics and phenomenologies of lived space and its surroundings. For example, what is environmental about abolition, as an ongoing project of the decarceration of space, as well as the spatial expressions of gender beyond binaries? How might queer ecology grapple with the evolving relationships between white supremacy and the altering landscapes, both urban and rural, caused by climate change? And following Sylvia Wynter’s lead, against the grain of an ecological hominess guiding so much environmental thought, how might we instead unsettle the coloniality of the very concept of environs?
Trans, global, decolonial, and/or critical race frameworks are especially encouraged. Topics may include:
Transnational and decolonial approaches to queer ecology
Alternative pre-histories and transhistorical approaches to queer ecology
Green colonialism, extractivism, and the colonial histories of ecology
Queer and trans eco-phenomenologies and affects
Uses and limitations of queer affects for climate justice
Queer and trans plant humanities, nonbinary botany, and multispecies ontologies
Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latinx, disabled and/or Global South expressions of gender, sexuality, and multispecies relation
The politics of lived space, as shaped by settler colonial histories of land policies and infrastructures
Critical geography, landscape architecture, urban and/or abolition studies
The impacts of environmental crisis on disciplinary debates about theory and method, and how we read today
Please send a proposal of approximately 300 words by May 8, 2023 to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, describing your topic and the expected length and format of your final submission. We welcome traditional academic essays between 8,000 and 10,000 words as well as shorter pieces and/or experimental formats. Full information on Diacritics’s author guidelines can be found here. We will respond to all proposals by June 1. If accepted, final manuscripts will be due by October 1, 2023.
Founded in 1971 at Cornell University, Diacritics publishes original work in and around critical theory, broadly conceived. For more information, visit https://www.diacriticsjournal.com/.