Gothic Nature, Issue V: Decolonising the EcoGothic
**Call for Papers, Reviews, and Creative Pieces**
Gothic Nature: Decolonising the EcoGothic
Issue V: Themed Issue
Deadline for Paper Abstracts: Aug 15, 2023
Guest Editor: Professor Kim D. Hester Williams
Editors-in-Chief: Dr Elizabeth Parker and Dr Harriet Stilley
A note from the Editors-in-Chief:
‘EcoGothic from postcolonial societies has long pointed towards the need to reconceptualise the relation between humans and their environment as central to the project of decolonisation.’
—Kerstin Oloff, 2012
At the Gothic Nature Journal, we are committed to providing up-to-date research on all things ecohorror and ecoGothic, and deliberately endeavour to involve theoretical perspectives from a mix of new and more revered scholars in ecocriticism, Gothic and horror studies, and the wider environmental humanities in ways that revalue the realities and representations of the ‘darker side of nature’. Previous issues have covered a wide historical spectrum and geographical scope, contributing unique and intriguing approaches to a variety of topics that expand and enrich the critical contours of Gothic Nature. As we continue to facilitate and encourage such topics and discussions, however, we are acutely conscious of the need to increasingly and proactively seek and include a diversity of voices and nuances in these supposedly ‘universal’ environmental and bioethical debates. In our continued discussions of our increasingly ‘Gothic’ conceptions of—and relationships to—the natural world, it is essential that we explicitly trace the complex interplay of ecohorror and the ecoGothic with the social
realities and histories embedded in their form/s, and furthermore confront the extent to which ecocritical concerns are intimately entangled with imperialist ideologies, capitalist practices, and colonial hierarchies—only then might we begin to destabilise and decentre the interface between nature and culture, animal and human, and actively participate in the decolonisation of environmental knowledge.
For Issue V, Gothic Nature: Decolonising the EcoGothic, we received a number of high-quality pitches from potential Special Guest Editors. We are delighted not only to confirm that this issue will be Guest Edited by the fantastic Professor Kim D. Hester Williams, co-editor of Racial Ecologies (2018), but to share her call for papers below.
We very much look forward to reviewing abstracts for this exciting issue.
— Elizabeth Parker & Harriet Stilley
Call for Papers from Guest Editor Professor Kim D. Hester Williams:
‘When do we become memory? If you do not remember us, do we cease to exist?
—Carolyn Finney, ‘Memory Divine’
We invite submissions for scholarly and creative work that considers these key questions:
How can or should we engage the ecoGothic with a mind toward ‘rememory’—to use Toni Morrison’s haunting term in her 1987 gothic novel, Beloved—and, correspondingly, the project of decolonisation? As Carol Finney similarly reminds us in the epigraph above, do those subjected to and by colonialism cease to exist if we do not remember the colonial past and its haunting presence? Furthermore, how do we represent the ecoGothic and ecohorror of colonialism while engaging in a project of decolonisation that gestures toward, as but one example, the social justice Decolonizing Design work of Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall?1
To this end, we might consider Herman Melville’s 1846 semi-autobiographical novel, Typee, in which he reimagines his encounter as a young white sailor with the Marquesas Islands and its Indigenous inhabitants. Melville’s narrative unsettles the romanticism that captivated his 19th century adventure-seeking readers by leaving them as well as contemporary readers to wonder who exactly is the cannibal; that is, who is being consumed and who is doing the consuming?
Similarly, in Jordan Peele’s 2022 film, Nope, in which a sitcom Chimpanzee named Gordy violently attacks, gruesomely mangles, and emphatically kills all but one of his co-stars, we are nonetheless left to question who exactly is the provocateur given the undeniable exploitation Gordy has suffered at the hands, quite literally, of his human handlers. Gordy’s animalistic violence magnifies the presence of the lone surviving child actor and, conspicuously, the only non-white person of the cast, Ricky Jupe Park (Steven Yeun). Both Gordy and the child are decolonised actors of a different sort if we consider the ecohorror that ensues. They are rendered by Peele as change agents formed by the relentless rage, might we even say revenge, that Gordy exacts upon his human victims.
These are but two examples of ‘Decolonising the EcoGothic.’ They are moments in which the ‘othered’ colonial subject awakens both recognition and fear in the coloniser, a fear of reversal. It is also an unsettling of the notion of home and belonging and, as Juan Pablo Gutierrez discusses, it is a ‘decolonization of thought’ in which ‘[t]his world that constitutes our ‘whole’ is the product of a will to organize reality in a specific direction. The coloniser’s desire for and will towards a monolithic and homogeneous reality is constantly met with the Other reality—and presence—of difference and resistance. The possibilities inherent in such a decolonising project, of an unravelling and ‘decolonization of thought,’ strikes the kind of fear that provokes horror and racial terror—both real and imagined. Yet they also provoke the possibilities of renewal.
In our increasingly ‘Gothic’ conceptions of—and relationships to—the natural world, it is essential that we explicitly trace the complex interplay of ecohorror and the ecoGothic with the social realities and histories embedded in their form/s, and furthermore confront the extent to which ecocritical concerns are intimately entangled with imperialist ideologies, capitalist practices, and colonial hierarchies; only then might we begin to destabilise and decentre the interface between nature and culture, animal and human, and actively participate in the decolonisation of environmental knowledge. Much recent scholarship notably calls attention to the burgeoning alliance between postcolonial and environmental studies (Huggan & Tiffin; Smith & Hughes; DeLoughrey & Handley; Deckard; Oloff, etc.). The field of postcolonial ecocriticism is imperative in not only challenging modes of socio-ecological imperialism and
their neoliberal incarnations in the 21st century, but also in (re)conceptualising Gothic fears and Eurocentric frameworks imbued with colonial and environmental alterities—in order to constructively imagine possibilities for alternate, recuperative ecological futures that are compatible with anticolonial politics. This special issue is dedicated to bringing together a dynamic and original variety of theoretical, literary, and/or cultural discussions of ecologicalthought—with the intention to provide revisionary insights into ecoGothic depictions of and/or reflections on Nature from postcolonial, settler colonial, and decolonising regions and cultural traditions beyond just Euro-America.
We invite for this special issue discursive and creative ruminations on any aspect or approach to Decolonising the EcoGothic. This includes, but is not limited to, resistance and radicalism that examine the representation of ‘recuperative ecological futures’ and new worldmaking. It may also highlight multi-racial, anti-capitalist democracies represented in EcoGothic texts that function to expose oppressive paradigms that are both founded and grounded in negation and consumption, especially the negation and consumption of the non-’white’, non-’male’ body—or in its reversal of this paradigm. Namely, this call also invites observations on the dialectical relations that encompass and make visible settler colonialism and its discontents within the context of the EcoGothic. Finally, for Gothic Nature V, we invite any and all proposals for papers of 6-8,000 words that critically reflect, engage with, and explore any aspect and interpretation of ‘DeColonising the EcoGothic.’
We are seeking papers that examine Gothic Nature **and** Decolonisation in relation to topics such as, but not limited to:
● Indigeneity and the EcoGothic
● EcoGothic settler colonialism focused on questions of race, class, disability, gender,
● Decolonising Ecohorror and the EcoGothic
● Abolition and Decolonising Gothic ecology, Gothic abolition geology, race, gender, and
● Defining and expanding discussions of the EcoGothic in relation to the
Plantationocene, Capitalocene, and Chthulucene
● Racially haunted ecologies
● Climate fiction, environmental disasters, apocalypse, deep dystopian futures.
● Plant horror, animal horror
● Decolonising EcoGothic Black Speculative Futures and/or Afro-Futurism
● Haunted rural communities, decaying urban spaces
● Racial representation (or negation) in EcoGothic and Ecohorror gaming, comics,
● EcoGothic narratives of extinction
● Racial Ecologies Activism and Gothic Nature
● Poetry, short stories, visual art, and other creative work that represent Decolonising
Please send abstracts of 500 words, as well as a brief biography of 150 words, to Editors-in-Chief Dr Elizabeth Parker and Dr Harriet Stilley at firstname.lastname@example.org and GuestEditor Professor Kim D. Hester Williams at email@example.com by 15th August 2023 (or feel free to contact us informally should you wish to talk through ideas or have any queries). First drafts will be due in December 2023 and final drafts will be due in early June 2023. Publication is scheduled for Summer 2024.
We are also seeking book reviews (of both critical and fictional works), TV, film, and game reviews, and creative pieces for Gothic Nature, Issue V: Decolonising the EcoGothic. Reviews should be of texts from the last 1-2 years which engage with the broader themes of the journal. Additionally, for this special themed issue, older texts which can be valuably reviewed in the context of decolonising the ecoGothic, or productively add to these conversations, are warmly invited and we would be glad to hear proposals of such books from anyone interested in contributing. Similarly, creative pieces are invited on both the broader themes of the journal and the more specific themes of Issue V.
Reviews should be roughly 1,000 words in length and written creative pieces/excerpts should be up to 1,000 words. Please note photography and visual art is also welcomed.
Please send film, TV, and game reviews to Dr Ashley Kniss at firstname.lastname@example.org by November 1st, 2023.
Please send book reviews to Dr Jimmy Packham at email@example.com by November
Please send creative submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 1st,
About the Gothic Nature Journal
Gothic Nature is an interdisciplinary and peer-reviewed open-access academic journal seeking to explore the latest evolutions of thought in the areas of ecohorror and the EcoGothic. It publishes articles, reviews, interviews, and original creative pieces united in their interrogation of the darker sides of our relationship with the nonhuman and provides a space for all scholars working at the intersections of ecocriticism, Gothic and horror studies, and the wider environmental humanities. Gothic Nature aims to provide deeper understandings of the importance and implications of our monstrous, sublime, spectral, and uncanny constructions of Nature in the cultural imagination and productively explore how Gothic and horror might factor in our conceptions and experiences of contemporary real life ecological crisis.
Website: Gothic Nature Journal – New Directions in Ecohorror and the EcoGothic - www.gothicnaturejournal.com
Founding Editor: Dr Elizabeth Parker
Editors-in-Chief: Dr Elizabeth Parker and Dr Harriet Stilley
Book Review Editor: Dr Jimmy Packham
Film and TV Review Editor: Dr Ashely Kniss
Blog Editor: Dr Harriet Stilley
Website Designer: Michael Belcher
Editorial Board: Professor Stacy Alaimo, Professor Eric G. Anderson, Dr Scott Brewster, Dr
Kevin Corstorphine, Dr Rachele Dini, Professor Simon C. Estok, Dr Tom J. Hillard, Professor
William Hughes, Dr Derek Johnston, Professor Dawn Keetley, Dr Ian Kinane, Dr John Miller,
Professor Jennifer Schell, Professor Matthew Wynn Sivils, Professor Andrew Smith, Dr