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CFP: Critical Norths: Space, Nature, Theory (Edited Book Collection)

2013 January 10
by smonani

Deadline:  April 1, 2013

Melting glacial ice reminds us of the North’s role in global climate change. Detritus from the 2010 Japanese tsunami reveals the ring-of-fire traffic of economies, risks, species, bodies, and waste. Environments and communities in the North disproportionately bear the costs of the planet’s dependency on oil. It is clear that the North is not an isolated, anachronistic, pristine, exceptional, or “authentic” space, as prevailing assumptions hold. As this collection seeks to demonstrate, the North is a dynamic, transnational, connected and contested space where natures, identities, histories, and politics constantly intersect.

We seek proposals for scholarly essays that address “the North” in these new and illuminating ways.  Concerns often associated with the North—melting icebergs, oil development, and indigeneity, for example—are overwhelmingly approached from perspectives in the natural and social sciences, making questions about the truth of climate science, the validity of traditional ecological knowledge, or the cost-benefits of oil development projects dominate our thinking about the region.  This book seeks to add an environmental humanities perspective and thereby challenge prevailing assumptions about Northern concerns, and even what counts as “the North” to begin with.

By understanding the North through perspectives that might seem mismatched at first glance—urban ecology, technology, postmodernity, globalization, post- and neo-colonialism, new media or popular culture, minority or migrant species and communities, reproductive justice, and queer ecologies, to name a few—this collection seeks to put Northern studies in dialogue with these important theoretical fields.

Some questions we seek to explore are:

·     Why “the North,” and how does “the North” serve as shorthand for other assumptions?

·     What voices, perspectives, and texts are left out of dominant understandings of the North?

·     How is the North connected to other places, yet, somewhat paradoxically, an exceptional geography?

·     What might Northern studies contribute to environmental inquiries, and what might emerging scholarship in environmental humanities offer studies of the North?

The intended audience for this collection is humanistic scholars interested in a critical environmental cultural studies approach to the North, especially the region understood as the North American North. We seek to appeal to scholars in the fields of environmental humanities, environmental literary studies, ecocinema studies, Canadian Studies, American Studies, indigenous studies, environmental justice, tourism and leisure studies, critical human geography, movement and spatial justice studies, and language and colonialism, and especially welcome proposals by Canadian or other scholars outside the U.S. University of Alaska Press has expressed interest in publishing this collection.

Proposals may address the following topics:

·     Geographical imaginaries of the North

·     Movement and migration

·     Queer ecologies

·     Reproductive justice, population, gender

·     Security, scarcity, risk, or military

·     Cold/dark ecologies

·     The North and eco-apocalypse

·     Representations of the North—literary, film, or new media

·     Technology, urbanization, or postmodernity

·     The study, use, and changing role of traditional ecological knowledges

·     Embodiment

·     Time, nostalgia, anachronism, slow violence, or temporality

·     Petrocultures and petronatures

·     Post-humanism

·     The North versus the South, “other” Norths, eco-cosmopolitanism and the North

·     The global North and/or Northern exceptionalism

·     Globalization and transnationalism

·     Food security and food justice

·     Social movements and protest

·     Indigeneity and modernity

·     Border studies

·     The toxic North

·     Northern perspectives on environmental humanities

Please submit a paper proposal of approximately 500 words and a brief biography to editors Kevin Maier ( and Sarah Jaquette Ray ( by no later than April 1, 2013.

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